cover image The Good Detective: A Mystery

The Good Detective: A Mystery

H. R. F. Keating. Scribner Book Company, $20.5 (199pp) ISBN 978-0-684-81522-0

Keating (The Rich Detective) writes crime fiction that refuses to pander and consistently entertains as it unfolds, enigma after enigma. The title is deliberately ambiguous. Is Ned French, Assistant Chief Constable of Norchester, England, good in either a moral sense or a professional one? Early in his career, he and another cop coerced a young woman animal-rights activist into confessing to the car-bombing murders of a businessman and three children. Now that case has come back to haunt him. A man confesses to the crime before dying, casting a sinister shadow over French's career and character--one that bedding the crusading lawyer investigating the case fails to lift. Meanwhile, word comes from a stoolie that three London hoodlums named Martin (Marty), Bartholomew (Barty) and Francis (yes, Farty) are planning to hijack a drug shipment passing through Norchester. French wants to bust this present case before the media bust him for the past one. Is French a good man? Keating doesn't commit, but the question will stay with his readers. (Dec.)