cover image Murder Most Vile

Murder Most Vile

Eric Brown. Severn, $28.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-7278-5099-7

At the outset of British author Brown’s enjoyable ninth Langham and Dupré mystery (after 2021’s Murder by Numbers), ailing businessman Vernon Lombard visits the London office of detective Donald Langham. Lombard wishes to hire Langham to find his artist son, Christopher. After discovering that Lombard’s description of his son has little bearing on reality, Langham and his wife, Marie Dupré, visit the artist colony where Christopher resided. No one there has anything kind to say about the missing man, but a lead develops in the form of a mysterious bleached blond. Meanwhile, Langham’s partner Ralph Ryland’s simple case of a lost dog has nightmarish consequences for both men. Even though WWII ended more than a decade before, there are still those seeking to destroy the enemies of their monstrous cause. When Ryland uncovers plans for an appalling hate crime, the race is on to stop it and to solve a murder with a motive as old as time. Brown does a good job depicting postwar Britain—a sweeping mix of butlers, Cockney accents, and cups of tea—amid all the murder and mayhem, though this isn’t the place to start for newcomers. Agent: John Jarrold, John Jarrold Literary (U.K.). (Apr.)