cover image ROYAL HEIST


Lynda La Plante, . . Random, $24.95 (384pp) ISBN 978-1-4000-6025-2

La Plante (Prime Suspect , etc.) heads for Ascot in this involving heist novel about a British champion racehorse owner who decides to steal the Crown Jewels after losing his fortune in an Internet scam. Son of a London bookie, husband of a Swedish beauty and owner of an enviable stable of horses, Edward de Jersey is also the retired mastermind of one of Britain's most famous unsolved robberies, a man who would rather die than give up his life of privilege. Step by step, he plans, prepares and executes a modern version of the Great Train Robbery, overcoming computerized security systems and penetrating royal protocol. De Jersey brutally dispenses enemies and boldly protects friends on both sides of the Atlantic, but it is his team of accomplices that makes this classic crime caper a compelling read, among them Pamela, the ex-con television actress; Lord Westbrook, the disgraced palace equerry; and Marsh, the computer whiz turned crook. La Plante's knowledge of the sport of kings, her sense of irony in human relationships and her deceptively cool narrative style allow her to visit familiar crime fiction territory with aplomb. She does not create the equal of her Masterpiece Theatre detective Jane Tennison, but she weaves an intricate story of crime and character that starts off slowly and then keeps the reader guessing as it gallops to a photo finish. Agent, Esther Newberg. (July)