Sour Grapes

Natasha Cooper, Author
Natasha Cooper, Author Minotaur Books $22.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-312-18666-1
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-373-26319-6
Hardcover - 438 pages - 978-0-7089-3962-8
Hardcover - 978-1-86042-783-1
Paperback - 274 pages - 978-1-4472-3860-7
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From a simple but intriguing academic premise, Cooper (Rotten Apples, etc.) constructs an engaging puzzle based on modern police science for her seventh Willow King mystery. English amateur sleuth and romance novelist Willow helps her wealthy friend Emma who, at work on her postgraduate criminology degree, is trying to find original material about lie-detectors and their usefulness in determining a suspect's guilt. What she seeks is a definitive miscarriage of justice. Willow, married to a police superintendent, uses her connections to find the odd case of Andrew Lutterworth. Convicted of killing a mother and baby in a car accident, Lutterworth at first denies and then confesses to the crime. But at the trial, he pleads innocent. When Emma first hooks him up to the polygraph, she is led to believe he is trying to hide something, although not necessarily his role in the crime. Digging into the case, Willow and Emma learn that Lutterworth's only child died unexpectedly of necrotising fasciitis, after which his wife apparently went mad. Further lie-detector tests on Lutterworth reveal his long-hidden secret and the reason for his contradictory behavior. In the meantime, Emma strengthens her friendship with Willow. With her deft characterizations and intriguing puzzle, Cooper provides a representative example of a fine British cozy. (Aug.)
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