cover image A Maze of Murders: An Inspector Alvarez Novel

A Maze of Murders: An Inspector Alvarez Novel

Roderic Jeffries / Author St. Martin's Press $19.95 (176p) ISB

Mallorcan Inspector Enrique Alvarez combines love of food, comfort and truth in another satisfying mystery (which follows An Artistic Way to Go, 1997). A middle-aged man with a bit of a middle-age spread, Alvarez takes a diligent, unhurried approach to solving crime. When young British tourist Neil Lewis vanishes from a boat during the night and his three companions have nothing but vague recollections of the party that preceded his disappearance, it looks like a simple, perhaps drunken, accident. But there are little details that snag Alvarez's attention--and his conscience. With shrewdness and determination, he interviews the women and newfound friend who had accompanied Lewis aboard his boat. To the outrage of his superior, Chief Salas, Alvarez is unwilling to dismiss the disappearance as a drunken accident and, in his search for the truth, bends rules to the breaking point. He widens the list of potential suspects to include a rich English landowner and his wife, orders expensive laboratory tests and journeys, however reluctantly, to Spain and to France to track movements and alibis. Nicely drawn major and minor characters, low-key humor and even a little romance for the good inspector make this yet another a pleasant diversion from the experienced Jeffries. (Jan.) FYI: Jeffries also writes mysteries as Jeffrey Ashford (see review of The Price of Failure, below).