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by Patricia Hall
Minotaur Books, January 2002
251 pages
ISBN: 0312282087

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Detective Superintendant Jack Longley has sent his Chief Inspector, Michael Thackeray, on a course at Thackeray廣 old Oxford college, St. Frideswide廣, in order to let the fallout settle from his last case, where a young woman constable, Rita Desai, was killed. The Chief Inspector has no fond memories of Friddies. 20 years before he was one of the few boys from a comprehensive school admitted to the college, and only because he was a star Rugby player. The others made fun of his accent, his religion, and everything about him because he was different. During his final year, women were admitted to the college. He observed one of them fall to her death. He didn廠 think it was suicide, but the Thames Valley police and the college wouldn廠 listen to him, which was one of the factors that helped him decide to join the police force.

The new master of Friddies is Hugh Greenaway, Michael廣 old history tutor. He invites Thackeray to his quarters and asks him to look into the disappearance of Mark Harrison, Chemistry tutor, who went missing several months before, leaving his wife destitute. Mark was one of the Rugger Buggers and a contemporary of the Chief Insepctor廣 at St. Frideswides. A short time after Harrison and his young secretary vanished, Mark廣 son apparently took an overdose and died.

Meanwhile, up in Bradfield, Thackeray廣 sergeant Kevin Mower, is still trying to get over Rita廣 death. He and DC Val Ridley are investigating the rape and beating of a 13 year old girl, whose mother and stepfather don廠 seem to care what happens to her. He is very depressed and just going through the motions, even after a temporary substitute for Thackeray, a woman DS, comes on board.

Hall tells a great tale of corruption going back at least 20 years; of tangled relationships; and shows how although time may pass, very few things change. It廣 a series that should be read from the beginning, if only to revel in the characterizations.

This is a review of the UK paperback which appeared in 2000. Publishd by Allison and Busby, Ltd.

ISBN: 0749005505

Price is 6.99 GBP

Reviewed by Barbara Franchi, November 2001

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