Bruce Alexander, Author . Putnam $24.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-399-15242-9

Alexander's many fans will find the final, posthumous Sir John Fielding mystery (after 2003's The Price of Murder ) a bittersweet experience. It marks a triumphant return to the series' strengths, with the blind magistrate Fielding, the real-life founder of London's fledgling police force, the Bow Street Runners, once again playing a prominent role in unraveling a baffling crime. When Lord Lammermoor, who's involved in drafting emergency legislation to combat the American rebels on the eve of the Revolutionary War, falls to his death from Westminster Bridge, the insightful sleuth and his loyal legman, Jeremy Proctor, uncover clues suggesting that the lord was murdered, possibly through a form of hypnotism. While the guilty party's identity is obvious fairly early on, the author's gifts for vivid characterizations, colorful period details and fast pacing are very much in evidence. His two collaborators deserve acclaim for making it impossible to tell where Alexander's words end and theirs begin, and for enabling one of the worthier recent historical series to go out on a well-deserved high note. Agent, Phalen G. Hurewitz at Isaacman, Kaufman and Painter. (Mar. 3)

FYI: Alexander was the pseudonym for Bruce Cook, who died in 2003. The nearly completed manuscript was finished by his wife, Judith Aller, and mystery author John Shannon ( Terminal Island).

Reviewed on: 01/10/2005
Release date: 03/01/2005
Genre: Fiction
Compact Disc - 1 pages - 978-1-4159-2199-9
Mass Market Paperbound - 274 pages - 978-0-425-20853-3
Hardcover - 448 pages - 978-0-7862-7717-9
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