cover image Silent Footsteps

Silent Footsteps

Jo Bannister. Severn, $28.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8864-8

At the start of Bannister’s diverting sixth Hazel Best and Gabriel Ash mystery (after 2018’s Kindred Spirits), Hazel, a constable in Norbold, England, disarms a low-level thug, Trucker Watts, who’s menacing a fellow passenger on a train. A short time later, someone kills Watts and leaves his body by a large waste container. Hazel subsequently uncovers a link between Watts and a shady Birmingham businessman. Meanwhile, Hazel becomes the target of a stalker, whose anonymous attentions escalate from bouquets and chocolates to deadlier tributes. An assault on her close friend Gabriel, a former spy who now runs a secondhand bookshop, raises the stakes. Readers, unlike Hazel, will have little difficulty spotting the villain, who lures her into the woods, where Ash sends his dog, Patience, with whom he has frequent conversations, in search of Hazel. Ash’s eccentric musings and Hazel’s impetuous behavior offer some entertaining interludes, as do Patience’s telepathic responses to Ash. Fans of offbeat police procedurals will be rewarded. Agent: Jane Gregory, Gregory & Co. (U.K.). (May)