In Butler's latest procedural, ominous threats to a child galvanize the police of the fictional Second City of London and their commander, John Coffin, who is being investigated by an overzealous MP. Nell Casey, an American soap opera star who is appearing in a theater festival run by Coffin's sometime lover, Stella Pinero, turns to Coffin when her young son Tom's teddy bear is stolen and buried in their ok yard under a marker bearing the boy's name. Coffin soon receives the disturbing news that William Arthur Duerden, a suspected child molester and murderer, has moved into his district of command. While his officers search for Duerden and proof of a pederasty ring, the boy disappears. Suspected abductors include an actor who is part of the festival; Nell's former lover, who hates her and believes he is Tom's father; and Nell herself, who may have arranged the abduction as a publicity stunt. As the police laboriously seek the pederasts, Nell disappears. Butler ( Coffin and the Paper Man ) breathes life and energy into her well-crafted tale, set in the vibrant Second City, an area of London resembling the Docklands. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/30/1992 Release date: 04/01/1992 Genre: Fiction
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