cover image The Moon Tunnel

The Moon Tunnel

Jim Kelly, Author . St. Martin's Minotaur $24.95 (322p) ISBN 978-0-312-34922-6

At the start of Kelly's superb third mystery to feature Cambridgeshire journalist Philip Dryden (after 2004's The Fire Baby ), an archeological team discovers human remains in the remnants of what appears to have been an escape tunnel from a WWII-era POW camp in England's fen country. That the victim was shot heading toward the camp piques Philip's interest. When forensic evidence dates the victim's death to well after the war, Philip sets out to find the corpse's identity. His search leads to the local Italian community, academics at Cambridge University, the proprietress of a nearby landfill—and to his intellectual and emotional reawakening after a period of feeling half alive. Kelly excels at depicting landscapes (his descriptions of the marsh-like fens rival those of Dorothy L. Sayers) and also rendering eccentric and troubled characters. But what could easily have been a depressing story instead shows the underlying good to be found in most people, that compassion and generosity can motivate as much as lust or anger. Kelly has produced another story rich in plot and character, with a bit of history as well. Agent, Faith Evans. (Dec.)