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This review is from: Kill My Darling (Detective Inspector Bill Slider Mysteries) (Hardcover)
I love the Bill Slider mysteries. As well as the wonderful Morland Saga which, thank heavens seems to have been reprieved for the moment, this author writes the most excellent, amusing and pacy thrillers with her two main protagonists, Bill Slider and his elegant side kick Atherton.
This one is terrific, as always. Melanie Hunter, a charming, attractive and intelllignet paleantologist is reported missing by a neighbour in the house where they both rent a flat. At first the report is down played by the police until it is discovered that the neighbour who reported her disappearance is a convicted murderer, now out of prison and living quietly on his own. He and KillMelanie appear to have struck up a friendship and, naturally, suspicion falls on him. But, as we all know, this is merely a red herring and though Slider and Atherton have to invetigate him, it is clear that Melanie has dark family secrets that just may have something to do with her death and the police are going up the wrong path.
So there you go - not giving any more info away as I want you to get hold of this book and read. I am full of admiration for Cynthia Harrod-Eagle's versatility; her simply stunning series of historical novels, the Morland Saga, display not only her brilliant writing but a depth of knowledge and research which always blows me away and this series of detective novels also benefit from this expertise. Not only is the police procedure sharp and to the point, but the book is people with such great characters: Norma Swilley of the CID, blonde and glamorous with great legs who has survived all the sexism and banter from her male colleagues; Maclaren never seen without a bacon sarnie in his hand or feeding his face with a Mars Bar but in Kill my Darling, strangely quiet and we discover he is in love; Atherton, tall, elegant, fighting shy of commitment, more happy with his cats and his cooking and Bill himself who I simply adore. In the first of these detective novels Bill is married but fairly unhappily to Irene and then investigating a case, he meets Joanna who plays in an orchestra. It is a coup de foudre and throughout the series we have the running thread of his relationship with her and the ups and downs it entails, as well as his friendship with Atherton. As with the Simon Serrailer novels of Susan HIll, the personal runs alongside the professional and we come to care about Slider and Atherton and what happens to them.
And as well as all the above, CHE has a wonderfully witty and amusing style which will make you grin as well as admire the police work:
Chief Inspector Porson who mangles the English language and is really Mrs Malaprop:
"It's the early boss that gathers the moss" Porson retorted "If it goes bad, the press'll be all over us for not jumping to it right away...they love a damson in distress"
Slider barely blinked. He was used to Porson's hit or miss use of language and the old boy was sharp as a tack and a good boss. A bit of Bush in the boss was worth bearing for the sake of the strand in hand"
and then a description of another officer "....whose tact, sensitivity and sweetness of nature made him about as popular as Hitler at a bar mitzvah"
Wonderful stuff and another terrific story with a twist at the end, though this time I had an inkling of what it would be, which isn't always the case.