cover image Demolition


Nick Oldham. Severn, $29.99 (224p) ISBN 978-1-4483-0694-7

Oldham’s facile 29th Henry Christie mystery (after 2021’s Scarred) finds Christie, a retired detective-cum–pub owner of the Tawny Owl in the quaint English village of åçKendleton, reluctantly drawn back into his former work upon the murders of two cutthroat real estate speculators, who were apparently in cahoots with each other. While Christie and his unlikely partner, Det. Sgt. Debbie Blackstone, a spiky pink-haired, tattooed, facially pierced 20-something, are investigating, an elderly, invalid neighbor is assaulted, leading them to the discovery of generations-old unsolved murders and rapes. Though the plot is clever, at times the dialogue misses the mark. (No self-respecting punker would say, for example, “You big, soft lummox, come ’ere,” as Blackstone says to Christie.) And strangely, while almost the entire police local force is laid low by Covid, none of the other characters are affected by it in the least. Though Oldham knows how to deliver what his fans want, some may feel that this long-running series is beginning to show signs of fatigue. Agent: Olav Wyper, SMS Talent (U.K.). (Sept.)