cover image Blood Lines: An Inspector Bill Slider Mystery

Blood Lines: An Inspector Bill Slider Mystery

Cynthia Harrod-Eagles. Scribner Book Company, $21 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-684-80047-9

After a start slowed by some uncharacteristically slapdash characterization and merely dutiful dialogue, Harrod-Eagles unleashes an effective dark-edged tale and serves up a truly nasty villain into the bargain. The fifth Inspector Bill Slider mystery (following Grave Music) revolves around the death of a promiscuous and pompous music critic who's found with his throat slit in the gents at a TV studio where he was about to appear on a talk show. Slider, whose lover, Joanna, is a violinist, gets to hunt for a killer in a case that initially centers on a hackneyed crew of suspects, all steeped in love for and/or envy of the famed commentator. If things start a bit simplisticly, Harrod-Eagles quickly burrows to an agreeably deeper level. A police officer is soon implicated, but the eyewitnesses' tales never quite gel even as the officer's odd past emerges in its full dysfunctional weirdness. All this is accomplished with nearly enough panache to blind the reader to the fact that the initial reason for the critic's untimely demise is actually a fairly goofy one. Once beyond the fitful start, Harrod-Eagles gracefully builds upon her habitually elegant procedural stylings to deliver taut psychological suspense. (Dec.)