cover image Killing the Lawyers

Killing the Lawyers

Reginald Hill. Thomas Dunne Books, $23.95 (336pp) ISBN 978-0-312-16877-3

All kinds of minor pleasures conspire in this third in the Joe Sixsmith series (Blood Sympathy; Born Guilty). Joe's a black PI in the not especially famous English town of Luton. He solves crimes less by detection than by his own brand of scrupulous honesty, which creates a kind of white light in which the bad guys invariably stand out. After Joe's insurance company undervalues his wrecked and beloved old car, he seeks the counsel of a rude and fancy lawyer. The visit ends in shouting--and becomes a case when the lawyer is murdered. Another lawyer in the dead man's firm is killed, and Joe, after being cleared as a suspect, is hired to investigate by a remaining partner in the firm. A concurrent case finds him hired on to investigate the threats being issued to Zak Oto, a woman runner who is being warned not to participate in the opening events of Luton's swank new sports complex. Zak has a close family, a jealous sister, a nasty Welsh bodyguard and the usual conniving collection of agents and coaches. All this happens close to the New Year, when Joe gets a lot of kisses at his favorite pub, and his cat gets drunk and sick (in that order). Hill is more famous for the Dalziel and Pascoe novels; his Sixsmith stories are of a different and somewhat lesser stripe. Joe is, nonetheless, a likable oddity, his own man, lucky rather than intuitive, not especially ambitious but loyal to a fault and an unpredictable, entertaining fellow. (Sept.)