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by Christopher Brookmyre
Grove Press, September 2002
416 pages
ISBN: 0802139191

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Scottish investigative journalist, Jack Parlabane, introduced in Quite Ugly One Morning in one of the funniest scatological scenes in recent literature, is at it again. He's promised his lover, Dr. Sarah Slaughter, that he will no longer place himself in jeopardy to get the story, but when the murder of a right-wing media mogul and his wife and bodyguards in a country estate occurs, Jack gets involved.

Four men, Thomas McInnes, his son Paul, Robert Hannah, and Cameron "Spammy" Scott, are fitted up for the crime. They are average guys, two of whom had spent time in jail for burglary, but they aren't career criminals. Thomas had left a letter with his very young lawyer, Nicole Carrow, laying out the events leading up to the murder, before they attempted the robbery. Parlabane remembered the earlier case, and had a feeling they weren't guilty. Then, an old friend of his, head of security for the country house, apparently commits suicide by taking a cyanide capsule, and Jack is convinced that something fishy is going on.

Sarah agrees that a real investigative reporter must do what he is best at, and Jack goes after the story. He digs, and puts himself and Sarah in jeopardy while trying to save Nicole. Detective Sergeant Jenny Dalziel, at first tries to keep Parlabane out of her hair but when the powers that be get up her nose, she joins the fun.

Brookmyre has a wicked sense of humor and the ability to puncture pompous politicians. The characters are well developed, not only Jack, Sarah and Jenny but also the secondary characters, the young lawyer, the four burglars, and others. A bit of knowledge about British politics also helps.

Note: This review is based on the UK paperback.

Reviewed by Barbara Franchi, July 2002

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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