cover image Talking to the Dead

Talking to the Dead

Harry Bingham. Delacorte, $26 (352p) ISBN 978-0-345-53373-9

Fans of Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander will cotton to the heroine of British author Bingham’s highly entertaining U.S. debut, Det. Constable Fiona Griffiths, whose social awkwardness and intensity make her unpopular among her fellow officers in Cardiff, Wales. Fiona’s current assignment, which makes use of her paper work expertise in tracking money stolen from a Catholic boys’ school fund, allows her to worm her way into the murder investigation of a woman with a history of drugs and prostitution. Fiona believes that the platinum credit card of a wealthy, recently deceased tycoon found at the scene of the crime hints at a deeper conspiracy, especially when another prostitute is murdered. Fiona’s habit of spending time with the corpses in the morgue may be bizarre, but Bingham makes this quirk a believable and thoughtful way for her to process clues. An insightful look at a damaged, unusual woman trying to fit in as well as a view of past and present Wales enhance the brisk, realistic plot. Agent: George Lucas, Inkwell Management. (Oct.)