cover image The Umbrella Man

The Umbrella Man

Roger Silverwood. Hale, $35.95 (224pp) ISBN 978-0-7090-8225-5

With a dollop of dark humor reminiscent of Peter Lovesey’s Peter Diamond series, Silverwood’s eighth Michael Angel whodunit (after Sham ) effortlessly blends an intricate puzzle with a contemporary police procedural. While under pressure to nab the arsonist who’s torched the homes of two MPs, the London detective inspector also investigates the murder of Imelda Wilde, who was once one of many attractive assistants to a magician known as Mysto. Angel’s inquiries soon turn up the suggestive lead that another Mysto female sidekick turned up dead a quarter-century earlier. The complications multiply when an irregular warrantless search of an arson suspect’s home reveals a bizarre setup—a dozen umbrellas suspended from the ceiling, packed with raw rice. The pieces all come together nicely in the end, even if the solution is less surprising than the typical Lovesey mystery. (Mar.)