cover image The Headhunters: An Inspector Hen Mallin Investigation

The Headhunters: An Inspector Hen Mallin Investigation

Peter Lovesey. Soho Crime, $24 (324pp) ISBN 978-1-56947-490-7

Lovesey's second novel starring Chichester CID inspector Henrietta \x93Hen\x94 Mallin (after 2005's The Circle) provides further proof that the CWA Diamond Dagger winner has no peer in presenting a traditional mystery, with all the clues hiding in plain sight. When a half-naked female body washes up on a beach, Mallin and her team must identify the woman as well as determine whether she met her end through foul play. Before the corpse can be named, Jo Stevens, who found the body tangled in seaweed, comes across another one in remarkably similar circumstances. Fearing that she'll fall under Mallin's intense scrutiny, Stevens fails to report this second death. Between the alternating perspectives of Mallin and Stevens, the suspense builds, enhanced by credible characters and healthy doses of black humor. The police eventually connect the two cases and focus on Stevens's new beau, a laconic ex-con who had a past with both victims, but the solution is, of course, not so straightforward. Inspector Mallin deserves as long a fictional career as Lovesey's other current series sleuth, Peter Diamond. (Apr.)