cover image Our Lady of Pain

Our Lady of Pain

Elena Forbes, . . MacAdam/Cage, $24 (401pp) ISBN 978-1-59692-316-4

When a bound and nude female body turns up in Holland Park in Forbes's solid second police procedural to feature the Barnes Murder Squad of West London (after 2007's Die with Me ), Det. Mark Tartaglia rushes to the scene to investigate. In the mouth of art dealer Rachel Tenison is a page of verse, eventually identified as an excerpt from Swinburne. Tartaglia soon finds that the ostensibly respectable and staid victim had a darker side, and that some people close to her, including her step-brother, an MP, have something to hide relevant to the murder. When the squad learns of a similar crime a year earlier that claimed the life of university lecturer Catherine Watson, they wonder if a copycat killer might be at work. While the plot line is formulaic and the final twist one that many readers will anticipate, those who don't demand intricate plotting or in-depth psychological examination should be well satisfied. (Sept.)