An Axe to Grind

Robert Wallace, Author St. Martin's Press $16.95 (237p) ISBN 978-0-312-05054-2
Essington Holt, last seen in To Catch a Forger , is now a wealthy expatriate on the French Riviera who here falls afoul of old and new Eastern European political passions. He and his childhood friend and nemesis, lawyer Gerald (Feathers) Sparrow, uncover an arms cache in their search for whoever sent threatening letters to Oula Strossmayer, an old Yugoslavian woman who has been axed to death in a small Australian town. After Essington is shot and seriously wounded, Feathers admits his involvement with the Australian secret service and an interest that goes far beyond the dead woman. To escape further threats, Essington and his bride return to Sydney, where he obsessively continues to investigate the murder, gaining an unlikely ally in an Aboriginal lawyer he meets as a result of Oula's bequest to the Aboriginal cause--a Raoul Dufy painting hiding documents and photos dating back to the shifting Yugoslavian politics of WW II and its aftermath. After further events affect his marriage, Essington ends up in Venice, stalked by killers anxious to hide old secrets. Readers will welcome the return of Wallace's reserved, yet very likable artist/sleuth as he moves between the sophistication of the Riviera and Sydney and the insularity of an Australian small town. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
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