cover image Dangerous Pursuits: A Gabriel Ash and Hazel Best Mystery

Dangerous Pursuits: A Gabriel Ash and Hazel Best Mystery

Jo Bannister. Severn, $28.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-7278-9087-0

Bookshop owner Gabriel Ash, a former spy whose mental breakdown has left him with socialization issues and a tendency to hold long conversations with his dog, Patience, gets into trouble in Bannister’s enjoyable seventh mystery set in Norbold, England (after 2019’s Silent Footsteps). That these dialogues are often held in public has led most of the citizens of Norbold to regard Ash as the town nutcase. While Gabriel is out walking with Patience, 17-year-old Rachel Somers races up to him and begs for his help, saying that an unidentified man has tried to rape her. Gabriel notifies the police, who then discover the murdered body of Rachel’s mother’s boyfriend. Two days later, two 14-year-old girls report being chased by a man vaguely resembling Gabriel. That’s all some locals need to target him as a dangerous pedophile. Gabriel and Constable Hazel Best, his close friend, race to discover the murderer’s identity before more violence erupts. The gradual change in the rapport between Gabriel and Hazel will please series fans. Newcomers will be likewise enchanted by this distinctive pair. Agent: Jane Gregory, David Higham Assoc. (U.K.). (July)