cover image A Knife at the Opera

A Knife at the Opera

Susannah Stacey. Summit Books, $17.45 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-671-65780-2

Two gifted British authors, writing as Stacey, present a sequel to their first novel, Goodbye, Nanny Gray , which introduced Inspector Bone. A widower and father, the detective attends a performance of The Beggar's Opera at his daughter's school. Backstage, someone stabs to death a teacher, Claire Fairlie, and Bone takes charge of the case. The investigation uncovers unsavory facts about the victim, who had been resented by wimpy, ineffectual Miss Wallace, by competitive Miss Lambert and by other staff members. Bone finds many suspects among students whom Fairlie first favored and then ignored, as well as her discarded lovers. Working through a maze of true and false stories, the inspector gathers evidence and identifies the surprising killer. The adroit mix of high comedy, tension and sensitivity--in the tenderness between Bone and his daughter--holds the reader in thrall and virtually assures the success of the authors' planned series. (Aug.)