cover image Grave Music

Grave Music

Cynthia Harrod-Eagles. Scribner Book Company, $19.5 (234pp) ISBN 978-0-684-80046-2

Inspector Bill Slider, last seen in Death to Go, confirms his place among those intelligent fictional British coppers whose presence guarantees a satisfying read. After Sir Stefan Radek, conductor of the Royal London Philharmonic, is fatally shot during a rehearsal, Slider suspects this case will be a ``domestic,'' resolved by looking into the widowed maestro's personal life. Within the music community, Radek was considered arrogant, vindictive and a mediocre conductor. The only one who seems truly bereaved is the victim's personal servant, Arthur ``Buster'' Keaton. Slider, recently abandoned by both his wife and his lover Joanna, a Philharmonic violinist, probes the affairs of Radek's daughter, Fay Coleraine, and is sufficiently charmed to root for her innocence. Fay's husband, however, a solicitor who is (at most) no more honest than he needs to be, and their son, who is, according to Keaton, ``turning out wild,'' make credible suspects. After nabbing the shooter, Slider senses that something about catching the right man is itself wrong, as wrong as his estrangement from Joanna. To the remaining question-Can the fallible man put things, personal and professional, right?-Harrod-Eagles offers an intricate, credible reply. (May)