One Is One and All Alone

Anthea Fraser, Author Minotaur Books $20.95 (192p) ISBN 978-0-312-19309-6
This wonderfully puzzling mystery performs an about-face deep into the story when, in a contrived and illogical internal monologue, the killer boasts about the crime. Until this disconcerting moment, the prolific author of the DCI David Webb series (A Shroud for Delilah, etc.) spins a finely detailed village procedural that deftly mixes some unhealthy family dynamics with slow and meticulous police work. Webb is on familiar ground: he is seeking four young thieves whose violence seems to be escalating. He works companionably with DCI Bennett, who in the course of the investigation confides that his home life is disintegrating because his new wife, the glacial and hostile Una, is alienating the grown children from his first marriage. When Bennett is found bludgeoned to death in his own parlor and Webb is asked to head the investigation, there is no lack of suspects, including: Bennett's son-in-law, furious because Bennett refused him a loan; the deceased's daughter's boyfriend, a felon in the making; and Bennett's wife, seemingly venal and uncaring. Webb has the continual, nagging conviction that he is overlooking something vital--and, of course, he is. Despite capturing a dysfunctional family at work and forming the beginnings of an intriguing investigation, Fraser lets too many coincidences and a melodramatic finale dilute the suspense. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 09/28/1998
Release date: 10/01/1998
Genre: Fiction
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-85903-397-5
Open Ebook - 192 pages - 978-1-4668-6448-1
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