cover image The King of Diamonds

The King of Diamonds

Simon Tolkien, Minotaur, $24.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-312-53908-5

J.R.R. Tolkien's grandson continues to burnish his credentials as a solid writer in his own right with his second suspense novel featuring Oxford Det. Insp. William Trave (after The Inheritance). In 1958 at London's Old Bailey, David Swain is on trial for the murder of Ethan Mendel, the man who he believed horned in on his relationship with Katya Osman. Thanks to Trave's testimony, Swain is convicted and sentenced to a life term, but Trave is unable to rid himself of nagging doubts about the case. Two years later, Trave's marriage has fallen apart. His wife, Vanessa, finds support in the unlikely person of Titus Osman, Katya's uncle, unaware that Titus is keeping Katya a virtual prisoner in her own home. Meanwhile, an embittered Swain plots an escape from prison to get his revenge on his former girlfriend, a plan that results in yet another murder. While some of the twists strain credulity, everything comes together at the end. (Mar.)