cover image A Hundred Thousand Dragons

A Hundred Thousand Dragons

Dolores Gordon-Smith, Severn, $28.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-7278-6910-4

At the start of Gordon-Smith's enjoyable fourth Jack Haldean mystery set in the 1920s (after 2009's As if by Magic), the former Royal Flying Corps pilot and mystery writer runs into a man who bears him a serious grudge, explorer Durant Craig, in the lounge of London's Claridge's Hotel. When Durant, "one of the few Englishmen to have been through the Yemen," denounces the dapper major as a coward, Jack makes no effort to defend himself, leaving the reader to wonder how the likable Jack could have offended his accuser. Jack retreats to Sussex for the weekend, to attend a country house party. Alas, the festivities are interrupted by an exploding car that Jack soon learns is a coverup for murder. While Jack tries to help his friends solve the crime, he also conceals relevant details about himself that could offer clues. A startling discovery, however, makes him realize he must reveal some unpleasant truths about his part in the Great War in order to thwart future killings. Traditional mystery fans will be well satisfied. (Aug.)