cover image Death of a Hollow Man: A Chief Inspector Barnaby Mystery

Death of a Hollow Man: A Chief Inspector Barnaby Mystery

Caroline Graham / Author William Morrow & Company $17.95 (268p

Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby, familiar from Graham's The Killings at Badger's Drift , returns here to deal with a very public murder in his quiet English village. The egocentric and widely disliked leading man for the town's amateur theater group has slit his own throat with a ``safe'' prop in front of a full house, including Barnaby and his daughter (Mrs. Barnaby is a member of the theater company). The inspector must sort out the killer from a very traditional cast of suspects: the play's director whose ego matches--if not surpasses--that of his dead star; the leading man's bitter ex-wife; his current wife, whose faithfulness is less than perfect; the young second lead, who nurtures serious ambitions for the ``real theater''; and various crew members. Particularly well drawn are Nicholas, the young actor, Deirdre, the assistant stage manager--whose primary concern is her senile father--and a homosexual pair responsible for design and lighting. A most enjoyable read, right down to the classic gathering of all the suspects at which Barnaby reveals the killer and the motive. (Jan.)