Fetch Out No Shroud

Stephen Murray, Author St. Martin's Press $16.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-312-05086-3
The fourth Alec Stainton mystery ( The Noose of Time ) by British author Murray is an only mildly interesting police procedural. The intricately parlayed facts of a murder case add suspense here that the flat characters cannot. Following the all-but-irrelevant death of his father, Stainton's first assignment as chief inspector is to discover who's murdered WW II historian Andrew Hunter at the old RAF base at Hartfield Park, Sussex. A local farmer, James Parker, discovers the body, but is evasive enough to provoke the suspicion of Alec and his virtually interchangeable subordinates. Next, Stainton questions Hunter's wife and learns that the historian was to speak at a reunion of South African soldiers who served in the RAF--the subjects of Hunter's next book. The memoirs of the base's intelligence officer hint at a cover-up of a cowardly flight crew that circled over safe waters instead of flying missions over Germany. Alec's musings slow the murky case's progress at each stage: he suspects blackmail involving the flight crew and Hunter, but his conclusion is concealed until the last chapter, denying the previously clued-in reader this final, crucial insight into Alec's mind. Devoid of memorable characters, the case fails to fascinate. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
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