cover image Murder Confounded

Murder Confounded

Roderic Jeffries / Author St. Martin's Press $17.95 (175p) ISB

Embracing equal parts charm and cunning, Inspector Enrique Alvarez of Majorca knows his Mediterranean island to be both a tourist trap and a land of magic. It seems not so much the latter when Englishman Franklin Gore is hospitalized with serious bruises and cigarette burns on his body. Initially, Gore insists he fell off a ladder (while smoking); when he admits to being tortured, two locals, an overly curious boy and a gipsy, come under suspicion. The dogged Alvarez leaves his kitchen, where his wife creates wonders, to learn that Gore's name is assumed and that he's actually a ladies' man with one lady who has a husband. Jeffries's pacing is deceptive: he seems to linger on the topographical detail or culinary aside, yet soon Alvarez is in England probing Gore's past. The Majorcan inspector employs powers of intuition that lead him swiftly through a maze of possibilities turning on issues of mistaken identity, incest and honor. Following Murder's Long Memory , this, the 16th Alvarez outing, is a procedural delight. (Sept.)