In the latest entertaining addition in Butler's long-running series of English police procedurals (A Double Coffin, etc.), Chief Comdr. John Coffin confronts a deadly conspiracy intended to destroy everything he holds most dear. Shortly after two terrorist bombs go off in London, the police are called in to examine a dead body. Its face has been mutilated beyond recognition, but evidence at the scene suggests that the corpse could be Stella Pinero, the famous actress and Coffin's wife. Stella's blue Chanel handbag is found next to the body; inside, there is a photograph of her eating a human arm. Even after the coroner proves the corpse was that of a man dressed up to look like Stella, many questions remain to be answered. Who is trying to implicate Stella in such a horrific crime? Could the dead man be a missing undercover policeman? Where has the real Stella disappeared to? As further murders occur, Coffin and Stella's personal and professional lives are threatened, but the savvy protagonist and his team eventually arrive at the truth. Butler paints a credible relationship between Stella and Coffin, two driven professionals who are fiercely independent yet dedicated to each other. Though her writing can be flat, her serpentine plotting is strong enough to provide a satisfying puzzler. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/28/1999 Release date: 07/01/1999 Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 307 pages - 978-0-7862-1946-9
Mass Market Paperbound - 256 pages - 978-0-373-26353-0
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