cover image A Penny for the Old Guy

A Penny for the Old Guy

Gaylord Dold, Gaylord Dould. St. Martin's Press, $17.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-312-06442-6

This seventh novel featuring Mitch Roberts is superior work indeed. Strong descriptions of London, Cambridge and Amsterdam in wintertime make a powerful contrast between the trappings of the Christmas season and the sorrow and violence Dold's sleuth encounters. Roberts, an American horse rancher, has traveled to England to spend the holidays with his best friend's widow, only to find her shattered by the drowning of her son Jono. When Roberts learns that the young man had no emotional problems and was an experienced swimmer, he suspects foul play; he is convinced of it after he witnesses the murder of Jono's best friend, a Dutch student named Wim, in Cambridge. Determined to discover a link between the deaths, Roberts visits Amsterdam, where he learns that Wim's father is linked to high-stakes international oil deals that may have some connection to the case. Many mystery writers have tried to portray tough male sleuths who are also sensitive, but Dold ( Disheveled City ) outdoes them all in his depiction of a man thoroughly empathizing with a woman's pain. A heart-stopping crisis brings the story to a close. (Nov.)