cover image Dead Man Upright

Dead Man Upright

Derek Raymond. Melville House International Crime, $14.95 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1612190624

First published in the U.K. in 1993, Raymond's fifth and final Factory novel (after 1990's acclaimed I Was Dora Suarez) pungently evokes the British underworld. Acting on a tip from a retired colleague, the series' hero, an unnamed detective sergeant in London's low-rent Unexplained Deaths department, begins investigating the mysterious Ronald Jidney, whose girlfriends have a tendency to vanish after several months. Even as the detective tries to warn away Ronald's latest flame, Ann Meredith, Raymond has already revealed that Ronald is a psychopath who seduces and murders middle-aged women. Due to a clinical tone markedly unlike the feverish earlier novels and extracts from Ronald's punishingly long statement, readers new to Raymond, the pseudonym of Robert Cook (1931%E2%80%931994), would be advised to start with an earlier entry. Established fans, however, will find the detective's despairing inner monologues on the state of the world just as forceful as ever. (Apr.)