cover image Shadow Play

Shadow Play

Frances Fyfield. Pantheon Books, $18 (208pp) ISBN 978-0-679-42402-4

Mr. Logo, a whisky-guzzling, Bible-toting road sweeper, desperately combs London for his daughter Enid, missing for four years. To prosecuting attorney Helen West, Logo is a public menace who lures young girls into graveyards, where, she suspects--but can't prove--he fondles them. His neighbors, however, consider Logo a harmless eccentric, and readers of this suspenseful, sophisticated tale of sexual abuse and murder only gradually become aware that he is a woman-hating maniac. West's office buddy, 19-year-old Rose Darvey, who has bedded the whole police force, is actually Logo's missing daughter, using an assumed name; she ran away with her mother to escape his sexual abuse after stabbing him with a kitchen knife in self-defense. Now her mother is missing, possibly a victim of Logo. Sexual banter and police camaraderie give way to a deep exploration of the rage, shame and emotional scars inflicted by child abuse, as Edgar Award winner Fyfield ( A Question of Guilt ) entertains with fully realized characters, withering observations on human behavior and a feminist heroine who swings between a wariness of commitment and a yen to marry her lover, an argumentative cop. (May)