A Question of Despair

Maureen Carter. Severn/Creme de la Crime, $28.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-78029-000-3

The main supporting character, Caroline King, who's a walking stereotype of an aggressive and unethical TV reporter, somewhat hobbles British author Carter's routine first in a new police procedural series featuring Birmingham Det. Insp. Sarah Quinn. Quinn and her team are dedicated to finding six-month-old Evie Lowe, who was snatched from her stroller while her young mother, Karen, ran an errand. Meanwhile, in a typical ploy, King poses as a social worker in an attempt to get into Karen's house and interview her. "You're the one who's being stupid," she tells the police who confront her. "I'm the one who could actually help that girl get her baby back." The frantic search for Evie and her abductor includes no unexpected twists or psychological insights. Fans of Carter's Bev Morriss mysteries (Death Line, etc.) will miss the grittiness of that series. (July)