Amendment of Life (A Detective Inspector Sloan mystery) Paperback – 22 Apr 2003
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'Catherine Aird is as clever a detective writer as Margery Allingham.' Times Literary Supplement
The new Detective Inspector Sloan mystery from the mistress of cosy English crime Tidying up the famous yew hedge maze at Aumerle Court was never Peter Carter's favourite job. He liked it even less this Monday morning when he reached the exact centre of the maze - an allegory for death since the time of the Minotaur. He is supervised as ever by the redoubtable Miss Daphne, chatelaine of the Court, who is surveying the maze from an upstairs window, as the ladies of the house have done since Tudor times. She, too, realizes that death is in their midst. Detective Inspector Sloan soon arrives at Aumerle Court, with Detective Constable Crosby in two. Together they begin an investigation that will prove to have more twists and turns than the maze itself...See all Product description
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DI Sloan is presented with a bizarre mystery: black magic type material - garotted rabbits, sheep's heads have been dumped on people's doorsteps; goats have been discovered where you would never expect them to be. A goat, I understand, is a rather diabolical animal, so why not tether it in a bishop's garden? In the real world in which you and I and the author live, people don't dump animal remains on other people's doorsteps without a good reason.
This is the prelude to trouble. Someone is dead. In a maze.
So ... bishops and people like that have to take these diabolical manifestations seriously.
Most of the action has occurred in a Hampton Court-type maze for which no map or guide has ever been available. Detective Inspector Sloan has to find out what is going on.
He has to deal with the ingenious deceptions of the murderer, the eccentric owner of the estate, and a maze that no-one can find their way in to or out of. He has a boss who is more hindrance than help, and he has, as a "helper" Detective Constable Crosby.
Crosby is utterly useless, but has the ability to sum up, in one liners, exactly what is going on. He says the most ridiculous things, but is right every time, and Sloan never tells him off. Sloan and Crosby would make an excellent PP comedy sitcom, but the genius of the author in creating this character is far beyond me, so I can't tell you how she did it, or why it's so funny. I just know that there's a backlog of Sloan & Crosby novels which I need to read to get a better idea of how the author created these characters.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The bits about the clergy in this mystery prove not only riveting but relevant.
The motive for this maze staged murder is very grim.
I was in London about 20 years ago, and though I saw one of their famous mazes I never got the opportunity to lose myself in one of them. I would have liked that as a child, though I imagine it can get a bit claustrophobic. Poor Inspector Sloan seems to have a knack for having to deal with bored elderly in Britain...their boredom is usually relieved by sticking their noses where into his murder cases. Though in this case the woman could hardly avoid getting involved since it was her maze the woman was killed in, and she had a bird's eye view of the maze from the second story of her home. She is actually quite witty, and keeps Sloan on his toes trying to figure out how to get through the maze, and how the body of the young woman got into the maze with no obvious tracks or means of doing so.
Sloan continues to have to deal with his rather dense Constable who has a penchant for speed. And in the midst of all this is a small boy suffering from a genetic disorder, who in the end is left bearing all the suffering that the selfishness of the adults around him left him with. A truly sad possibility to our endeavors to learn more about our existence and the sciences involved in making us who we are.