cover image Soul Murder

Soul Murder

Andrew Nugent, . . Minotaur, $24.95 (352pp) ISBN 978-0-312-53656-5

Irish author Nugent’s less than inspired third police procedural to feature Supt. Denis Lennon and Sgt. Molly Power of the Garda Síochána (after 2006’s Second Burial for a Black Prince ) opens with a terrifying discovery. Students at St. Isidore’s, a boys’ boarding school in North Kerry, on returning to their dorm from an illegal midnight barbecue, find the bloody corpse of their house master, Maurice Tyson, whose throat has been slit. St. Isidore’s head suggests Tyson was the accidental victim of kidnappers targeting Bertrand Laporte, a French student from a wealthy family, an unlikely theory that gains plausibility when Laporte is later abducted back in his native country. News that a former student accused Tyson of abuse offers a different motive for the police to pursue. The author’s portrayal of private school life rings true, though the denouement strains credibility. His engaging police characters deserve a more imaginative plot, like that of his 2005 debut, The Four Courts Murder . (Aug.)