Dressed to Kill

Patricia Hall. Severn/Creme de la Crime, $28.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-78029-046-1
Set in 1963, Hall’s third Kate O’Donnell mystery (after 2012’s Death Trap) does a good job, despite some clumsy prose, of depicting Britain during a time of rapid, bewildering change. When the naked body of underage prostitute Jenny Maitland turns up behind the Jazz Cellar, a club in London’s seedy Soho district, Kate’s policeman friend, Det. Sgt. Harry Barnard, investigates. Harry’s superior, Det. Chief Insp. Keith Jackson, is more interested in trying to shut down the Jazz Cellar, which he’s sure is a hotbed of “drugs and vice and perversion,” than in finding Jenny’s killer. Meanwhile, photographer Kate, who works at the same agency where Jenny was a modeling hopeful, is drawn into the unsavory fashion world, where naïve young women can easily fall prey to manipulative predators. Though the reactionaries are doomed to eventual failure, they wield considerable short-term power. Justice in such a system, as Kate and Harry discover, can be cruel and inconsistent. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/15/2013
Release date: 09/01/2013
Genre: Fiction
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