cover image ECHOES OF LIES


Jo Bannister, . . St. Martin's Minotaur, $23.95 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-312-28432-9

Deviating from her popular police procedurals (Changelings, etc.), British veteran Bannister introduces a new mystery series that's both fresh and different. Brodie Farrell, recently divorced and the single parent of a four-year-old, runs her own search service, Looking for Something? When a woman asks her to find a man in a photograph who she says has cheated her out of a great deal of money, Brodie, whose only prior detective experience has been limited to finding antique books and cranberry glass epergnes, accepts the case and soon tracks down and identifies the man as mathematics teacher Daniel Hood. After thugs torture, shoot and leave Daniel for dead, Brodie, plagued with guilt, dutifully reports her involvement to the police. When it becomes apparent that Daniel was an innocent victim, Brodie joins him in an investigation that will lead them into a world of the very rich where the life of a child is in jeopardy, money is all important and truth has no value. Lies abound from beginning to end in a plot that twists and turns until its surprising conclusion. As usual, the author skillfully juxtaposes a complex puzzle with insightful character studies. Particularly poignant here is the sensitivity with which she treats Daniel's psychological state as he tries to recover. Brodie is intelligent but sometimes impetuous, caring but sometimes overzealous. But then again, she's new at this work. Committed Bannister fans and those fond of psychological mysteries will welcome Brodie's debut. (Dec. 28)