cover image Intriguing Murder

Intriguing Murder

Roderic Jeffries / Author Severn House Publishers $26.99 (256p

British author Jeffries s latest Inspector Alvarez mystery suffers from too many parallels to his recent An Artful Death (2002). Once again, this engaging sleuth is investigating a possibly suspicious drowning of a wealthy, philandering expat, who is found to have suffered an unusual puncture wound. Once again, the suspects include an ex-wife with designs on the inheritance, a minister who may have killed to conceal corruption and a bevy of spurned lovers. And again, Alvarez s tenacious pursuit of the solution, despite his own natural indolence, triggers his superior s wrath. But these elements, which blended in smoothly with the author s lively depiction of Mallorca in the previous book, come across as derivative and formulaic here. Even Alvarez s use of blackmail to further his interests is a pale copy of an earlier plot device. Faithful readers of this excellent series must hope that this lesser effort is an uncharacteristic lapse and not an indication that it has run out of steam. (Apr.)