Top positive review
4 people found this helpful
on 16 February 2009
The eleventh in the Bill Slider series finds the Detective Inspector trying to arrange his marriage to his love, Joanna, before the impending birth in approximately seven weeks of their child. As he says: "I've been trying to get married . . . arranging a wedding between a policeman and a musician is like trying to push a balloon into a milk bottle." As the book opens Slider and crew are investigating the murder of Ed Stonax, former BBC correspondent who had left to become a civil servant a couple of years back, only to be forced to leave that position when he became embroiled in a sex scandal. Is it a random burglary gone wrong, or does it stem from something in his previous professions that had somehow led to his demise?
At the same time, Slider is dealing with a communication he receives from a criminal in whose arrest he was a participant; the man, Trevor Bates, alias The Needle, had escaped during transfer to a different facility a month prior, and had not been seen or heard from since. Direct threats on his and Joanna's lives up the stakes, and indeed attempts are made on his life. Bates is variously described as a "wealthy businessman, property dealer, electronics expert, murderer . . . intellectual, cold-blooded, and pathologically vain." Quite a nemesis, and one that Slider is determined to re-capture, if only in self-preservation.
Slider's colleague, Atherton, never lacking for female companionship, finds a fast-growing attraction to Stonax' daughter, a journalist now living in New York but who has come back to the UK after her father's death. Only this time it feels different for the serial-dater. Emily, the daughter, begs to be allowed to stay involved in the investigation, and her experience as a journalist becomes a definite asset. For his part, Slider "was happily spoken-for, but there was no harm in admiring the scenery, even if you were on a non-stopping train." But his love for Joanna is never in doubt, despite that momentary thought.
The author's charming sense of humor is evident throughout, in spite of the sometimes grim nature of the plot. Another colleague is described as having a "face that lunched on a thousand chips." A superior has a habit of mixing his metaphors: "A leper doesn't change his spots, " "don't throw the winds to caution," and "still waters wait for no man." Ms. Harrod-Eagles is a wonderful storyteller as well as a gifted writer, two things not always, or even often, found together. The book is highly recommended.