cover image Break It Down

Break It Down

Lydia Davis. Farrar Straus Giroux, $14.95 (177pp) ISBN 978-0-374-11653-8

It looks like an open-and-shut case when a London warehouse is burglarized and suspicion points at night watchman Jim Thorpe as an accomplice. But the struggling law student vehemently denies taking part in the crime, despite the efforts of detective-inspector Bell to make him confess. Slowly, Bell becomes convinced that Thorpe is innocent, especially after the young man begins an investigation of his own that results in his being stalked and viciously beaten. At the heart of the mystery is a letter stolen from the warehouse that incriminates Sir Thomas Barnham, a Member of Parliament, in a shady land deal. Is Barnham guilty of setting up the burglary and the murders that followed? Thorpe travels from a Spanish resort to the upper echelons of power to find the truth, in this absorbing and well-crafted mystery. (July 11)