cover image Dying to Know: A Lance Elliot Mystery

Dying to Know: A Lance Elliot Mystery

Keith McCarthy, Severn, $28.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-7278-6897-8

British author McCarthy's first Lance Elliot mystery to be made available in the U.S., a run-of-the-mill whodunit, features a doctor practicing in Surrey. The police arrest Lance's father, Launceston, a retired physician, for arson after the elder Elliot shoots a fireworks rocket into the shed of his neighbors, Oliver and Doris Lightoller, with whom he has a longstanding feud. After Launceston is released from custody, he claims that Oliver, an antiques dealer, is really a fence. When Lance visits Oliver's store, he finds the man dead in an office chair run through with a sword. The police arrest Launceston again, this time on suspicion of murder. Lance and his girlfriend make inept amateur sleuths as the puzzles pile up. Some readers will groan at the contrivance that gets the pair out of a fix at the climax, while others will wonder why McCarthy (Corpus Delicti) chose to set the book in 1975 since he could have set it in the present with few changes. (July)