cover image Killing Time

Killing Time

Cynthia Harrod-Eagles. Scribner Book Company, $22 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-684-83776-5

In his latest engrossing entry, the sixth in this highly literate series, London's Detective Inspector Bill Slider is approached by Jay Paloma, a gay erotic dancer who has received letters threatening his life. A few days later, Paloma's battered body is found in the apartment he shared with barmaid and prostitute Busty Parnell. With Slider's partner, Jim Atherton, still recovering from a knife wound (Blood Lines, 1996), Slider is teamed with young black female detective Tony Hart. Their investigation delves into the seedy underside of London's nightlife, focusing on the Pomona Club, where Paloma had worked, and its owner, Billy Yates, who also runs a prostitution ring. Slider and Hart's suspicion that Yates is involved in Paloma's murder is strengthened when they discover that Paloma had purchased narcotics in the Pomona Club for his lover, cabinet minister Nigel Grisham, and that one of Yates's bodyguards had broken into Paloma's apartment the night of his murder. In the end, however, the motive for murder turns out to be simple jealousy, an emotion Slider is all too familiar with, having observed the escalating anger of his estranged wife, Irene, when she finally discovers the existence of his longtime girlfriend, Joanna. Harrod-Eagles affectionately portrays a colorful London of warmhearted prostitutes and cabbies speaking in Cockney slang. The witty wordplay between Atherton and Joanna, Slider's complicated relationships with Joanna and Irene and the spice added by detective Hart combine to produce another solid addition to an outstanding series. (Jan.)