cover image Orchestrated Death: A Mystery Introducing Inspector Bill Slider

Orchestrated Death: A Mystery Introducing Inspector Bill Slider

Cynthia Harrod-Eagles. Scribner Book Company, $19.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-684-19388-5

A beleaguered British detective struggles to solve a series of sinister murders in this masterful debut. When a woman is found naked and dead in a vacant apartment in West London, the letter ``T'' carved into one foot, a callus on her neck leads Inspector Bill Slider to identify the victim as a violinist, one Anne-Marie Austen. Although the antipathetic Austen seemed to have no life outside her modest orchestra job, a visit to her dingy bedsit turns up a Stradivarius worth at least a million pounds; other clues lead to a second residence, a luxury penthouse, as well as the extravagant habit of driving to Birmingham just to buy a certain olive oil. As Slider learns that Austen had been pressuring a fellow musician to continue an affair, he himself is drawn to Austen's playing partner, and muddies his marriage and the investigation by beginning a romance with her. Like the other developments here, including more killings, the new relationship rings resoundingly true. And although Harrod-Eagles unabashedly hints at a clue that might settle everything, no one bit of information answers every question. A sophisticated ending whets readers' interest in the further adventures of these strong players. (Feb.)