cover image Lambs to the Slaughter: A DCI Monika Paniatowski Mystery

Lambs to the Slaughter: A DCI Monika Paniatowski Mystery

Sally Spencer. Severn, $28.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8192-2

In Spencer’s darkly effective fifth mystery set in 1970s Lancashire (after 2011’s Backlash), two retired miners, Len Hopkins and Tommy Sanders, get into a fierce brawl in the mining town of Bellingsworth over an upcoming strike vote. When someone soon after brains Len with a pickax while he’s using an outdoor toilet, most fingers point at Tommy. Certain that the murder has nothing to do with the threatened strike, Det. Chief Insp. Monika Paniatowski believes the motive to be much more personal—thus putting her at odds with her second-in-command, Det. Insp. Colin Beresford. When Monika is forced to withdraw from the case, Beresford takes charge and seeks a quick resolution—which proves difficult, especially after Monika’s personal life becomes part of the investigation. Spencer expertly mixes political intrigue, lust, greed, and long-held secrets against a backdrop of bleak mining life. (Nov.)