THE VERGE PRACTICE: A Kathy and Brock Mystery

Barry Maitland, Author . Arcade $25 (314p) ISBN 978-1-55970-713-8

It's hard to call Det. Sgt. Kathy Kolla and Chief Insp. Brock a team, since they work independently and don't often communicate, yet their sleuthing is smooth and efficient as they hunt down the killer of a prominent architect's wife in the latest in Maitland's sophisticated series (The Malcontenta , etc.). Charles Verge, owner of the London practice bearing his name, has suddenly gone missing, putting him under immediate suspicion of doing in his ambitious wife just before plans are unveiled for a controversial new prison. The police also focus on the activities of rival architect Sandy Clarke, until he too is found dead, an apparent suicide leaving a dubious "confession" on his computer screen. Kathy does most of the legwork in this intensive search, going first to the north of England and then to Barcelona where Charles may have been sighted, while Brock is back at headquarters in London directing an inquiry into the firm's shady finances. Maitland, himself an architect, provides vivid insight into the dog-eat-dog world of designing government buildings and also shows us the "nasty end of police business," in the modern forensics lab complete with high-tech gadgetry. Eventually, the pieces of the puzzle fit together in a grisly and unsettling resolution. (July 14)

Reviewed on: 06/14/2004
Release date: 07/01/2004
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