A Spider in the Cup

Barbara Cleverly. Soho Crime, $26.95 (352p) ISBN 978-1-61695-288-4
British author Cleverly squanders a promising premise in her uneven 11th mystery featuring Scotland Yard’s Joe Sandilands (after 2012’s Not My Blood). At the 1933 World Economic Conference in London, Sandilands has the major responsibility of protecting U.S. Senator Cornelius Kingstone, one of FDR’s closest advisers. Whether America will adopt an aggressive posture against Nazi Germany is still up in the air, making Kingstone’s safety a national priority for the Brits. Meanwhile, an eccentric group of dowsers digging in a Thames riverbank unearth a woman’s corpse, with her right big toe severed and a gold coin in her mouth. Sandilands delegates that investigation to a subordinate, even as he suspects a possible link between the woman’s murder and his primary mission. Those expecting a well-crafted murder puzzle will be disappointed, though as she has in the past, the author may well return to form next time. Agent: Juliet Burton, Juliet Burton Literary Agency (U.K.). (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/24/2013
Release date: 08/20/2013
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