cover image Family Life: An Inspector Starrett Mystery

Family Life: An Inspector Starrett Mystery

Paul Charles, . . Brandon, $29.95 (334pp) ISBN 978-0-86322-404-1

The complicated relationship between Inspector Starrett and his on-again, off-again significant other, Maggie Keane, threatens to overwhelm the crime solving in Charles's second procedural to feature the Irish policeman (after 2007's The Dust of Death ). Starrett and his team investigate the drowning death of farmer Joe Sweeney, whose corpse turned up in a waterfront warehouse courtyard with his hair dry and combed. Despite the victim's reputation as a decent man, the Donegal police find no shortage of suspects and motives, starting with members of the extended Sweeney family. Rival food distributors, whose prices were undercut by Joe, may also have wanted him dead. While this book doesn't live up to its predecessor, given the strength of Charles's Det. Insp. Christie Kennedy series (The Beautiful Sound of Silence , etc.) readers have every reason to expect a better effort next time. (Jan.)