cover image Rude Boys: A Mitch Roberts Mystery

Rude Boys: A Mitch Roberts Mystery

Gaylord Dold. St. Martin's Press, $18.95 (282pp) ISBN 978-0-312-08286-4

A pervasive tone of sadness, born of the protagonist's loneliness and unrequited love, makes this aggressively somber mystery succeed. American Mitch Roberts is in London trying to rekindle his romance with Amanda, a widow who seems at best ambivalent toward the Arizona-reared part-time detective. While living in a basement bedsit and eating greasy meals in cheap cafes, Mitch helps Hillary Root, a Jamaican-born lawyer, assemble a defense for a Jamaican client accused of murder. But then Hillary's half-brother, recently arrived from the island, is murdered in the hospital where he's recovering from food poisoning; the police find drugs in his flat. After Hillary's father is killed in a similar fashion, his throat slashed, Roberts probes the original case and the Root murders. Although perhaps he overemphasizes his hero's sorrow, Dold is otherwise adept; he painstakingly evokes the Rastafarian culture of Jamaica and London, and as he gradually brings together the life of the accused killer and the deaths of his victims, he leads the tale to a masterful solution. (Nov.)