cover image Dead Heading

Dead Heading

Catherine Aird. Minotaur, $25.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-250-04113-5

Nobody tops Aird at police procedurals imbued with sly British humor, as shown in her 24th mystery featuring Calleshire County Det. Insp. C.D. Sloan (after 2011’s Past Tense). In separate inquiries, Sloan must determine who opened the greenhouse doors at two nurseries, freezing many orchids, and learn why the elderly Miss Enid Maude Osgathorp, who was planning an orchid demonstration, has not returned from a trip. Blackmail and murder trump vandalism as Sloan finds links between the two cases. All the characters, from the nursery owners to the nearby landscape architect to several nursery clients, are clearly defined, believable, and human enough to gum up the works here and there. Sloan, whose mordant thoughts in the face of his superior’s outré remarks are worth the price of admission, is assisted—or perhaps handicapped—by the presence of Detective Constable Crosby, he of the heavy foot on the gas pedal and the inability to curb his inappropriate comments. [em]Agent: Cassie Metcalf-Slovo, Aitken Alexander (U.K.). (June) [/em]