cover image The Latimer Mercy

The Latimer Mercy

Robert Richardson. St. Martin's Press, $12.95 (184pp) ISBN 978-0-312-47267-2

American thriller buffs are sure to give this British author's first novel a warm reception. The story begins with the theft of the Latimer Mercy Bible, which contains the misprint ""merry'' corrected by the martyr Hugh Latimer during the 16th century. Augustus (Gus) Maltravers, playwright, is visiting his sister and brother-in-law in Vercaster when the treasure is stolen from the cathedral. A planned festival there goes on, nonetheless, and Gus's friend Diana Porter is a smash hit in the one-woman show he has created for her. Then Diana vanishes, as suddenly as the Bible, and the dramatist helps the police interrogate the many suspects, including members of the clergy. A small clue leads Gus to the guilty person but not in time to prevent a hideous crime. Richardson's thriller is grand entertainment; it never slips into sensationalism, thanks to his deft handling and suave wit. Bravo. January 28