cover image Devil at the Crossroads

Devil at the Crossroads

Olive Etchells, . . Soho Constable, $25 (265pp) ISBN 978-1-56947-592-8

Etchells's third contemporary procedural set in Cornwall to feature Det. Chief Insp. Bill Channon (after 2006's Footprints of the Devil ) offers little new in terms of either character or plot. After someone slashes the throat of Paul Stradling, a young man with the reputation of a rake, and props the body against a standing stone, Channon and his team, including his ambitious but rough-edged assistant, Sergeant Bowles, investigate. They conduct the usual interviews, quickly focusing on the Pascoe family as people of interest. The oldest Pascoe daughter reveals she was in love with the victim, and her mother admits she was coincidentally at the scene of the crime, near a crossroads, around the time of the murder. The detection consists simply of good, dogged police work, while the tension between Channon and Bowles over the latter's attitude doesn't add much. Other mystery authors, such as Robert Goddard in Beyond Recall , have made better use of the Cornish setting. (Aug.)