cover image Dead in the Dog

Dead in the Dog

Bernard Knight. Severn, $28.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8161-8

The unusual setting, Perak State in 1954 British Malaya, boosts this first in a new series from Knight (A Plague of Heretics and 13 other Crowner John medieval historicals). As British colonial rule wanes, a growing independence movement has resulted in an increase of terrorist acts aimed at foreigners. In addition, the desire of Malayan Chinese to have a Communist state succeed British rule has led to conflict between them and native Malays. Against this backdrop, military doctor Tom Howden, the new pathologist in the region, must solve the murder of planter James Robertson, who was gunned down in his car. The killing bears similarities to the assassination of the British high commissioner several years earlier, but given Robertson’s rocky relationship with his attractive wife, Howden suspects a personal rather than a political motive. Those for whom the exotic locale is the book’s chief appeal won’t mind the disappointing windup. (Aug.)