Cracking Open a Coffin

Gwendoline Butler, Author Minotaur Books $16.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-312-09777-6
The latest of the accomplished Commander John Coffin mysteries, after Coffin on Murder Street , revolves around the disappearance of two students from the university of the Second City of London. Although Amy Dean and Martin Blackwell have been missing only two days, Coffin, head of Second City police, starts to investigate, impelled by the still unsolved murder of student Virginia Scott the previous year. Amy and Martin's friends are markedly reluctant to offer information, as are the folks at the home for battered women and children where both Amy and Virginia did volunteer work. Not so restrained is Amy's father, former policeman James Dean, who is convinced his daughter is dead and points his finger at Martin. Formerly Coffin's partner, Dean is adept at finding ways to intrude on the investigation. Adding to the pressure on Coffin are anonymous phone messages warning him to ``watch your back'' and ``tidy up your private life''--presumably a reference to his relationship with actress Stella Pinero. Butler deftly integrates the past and present into Coffin's personal and professional lives, portraying him as a pensive character as ready to turn a critical eye on himself as on those whose lives are caught up in the tragedy he hopes to untangle. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 06/28/1993
Release date: 07/01/1993
Genre: Fiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-373-26171-0
Library Binding - 388 pages - 978-0-7862-0118-1
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