cover image The Late Lady

The Late Lady

Susannah Stacey. Pocket Books, $20 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-671-73530-2

In their fifth novel featuring Det. Supt. Robert Bone (after Grave Responsibility ), the writing team of Jill Staynes and Margaret Storey deftly spins a fine mystery distinguished by complex, intriguing family relationships. When three bodies turn up in one week at popular British author Jake Marsh's charming home in Kent, Bone becomes quickly and deeply involved. The first to die is Marsh's young housekeeper Anna, who apparently fell downstairs after tripping over a skateboard. Then the collapse of a garden wall reveals the corpse of Jake's first wife, Kingsley, who was missing for 14 years; the household is still reeling when Marsh's second wife, Fenny, is murdered in a particularly grisly manner. A man of considerable depth and scholarship, Bone interrogates suspects in the traditionally sedate manner of English mysteries, bringing his shrewd analytical skills to bear on the time-honored art. He elicits unwitting clues from the sensuous star of Jake's hit TV series; from Kingsley's belligerent brother; and, with some difficulty, from Marsh's hostile, rebellious daughter. Bone's own feisty teenage daughter is a scene-stealer; she makes the policeman more human, as does his tragic past. This is a literate, finely tuned story. Mystery Guild selection. ( Mar. )