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by Joyce Holms
Allison & Busby, April 2003
240 pages
ISBN: 0749006056

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

On a hill-walking holiday in the beautiful Scottish Highlands, Fizz Fitzgerald and Tam Buchanan are witness to a horrific car crash. There is little they can do for the driver, except agree to accede to her dying wish to help her passenger, who she assures them is being pursued by the police who are trying to kill him. And so Fizz and Tam find themselves on the run in charge of a guy in in his seventies with a halo of white fluffy curls and the demeanour of a saint. The beatific smile of their newly acquired friend is quickly explained, Mckenzie is pie-eyed.

Encountering the boys in blue on two occasions, it is clear that they only want Scott McKenzie dead, and friendly chat is not on their agenda, For Fizz and Tam, their only hope of information is Mckenzie, but he is extremely vague,. Trying to establish how he came to be in Inverness Buchanan asked ŒWhatıs the last thing you remember? Back in Edinburgh. ŒWere you drinking?ı. ŒVery likely, dear boy, said McKenzie with great dignity. ŒNo point of beinı sober if yı donıt have to.ı

Avoiding the police and seeking innocuous bed and breakfast accommodation is not Buchananıs bag, but he adapts surprisingly well to the situation, whereas Fizz, seems suddenly aware of all she has worked for. Trying to keep McKenzie sober, no mean feat, when turning ones back he is off to chat up the landlady for the cooking brandy, they attempt to back track his activities and encounter far more than they could ever have envisaged. For as McKenzie recalls places and people, he cannot recall whether they are friends or the people chasing him, poising Fizz and Buchanana on the horns of dilemma.

McKenzie is a wonderful character of great charm, and all the low-down cunning of the drunk. I sensed some differences in this book to the earlier books in the series, and think that it is down to Fizz. Now that Fizz is on the verge of becoming a fully fledged solicitor is she changing ? She makes a change that unsettles Buchanan, well it unsettled me! No of course I am not going to say what, you will have to read the book for yourself.

Oh! with what joy I open the pages of a Joyce Holms book. I know I will not be disappointed, I can be assured of tight plotting, wonderful characterisation and a truly satisfying read. If only she would write more than one book a year. Sigh! --------

Lizzie Hayes

The earlier books in the series are Payment Deferred, Foreign Body, Bad Vibes, Thin Ice, Mr Big and Bitter End.

Reviewed by Lizzie Hayes, May 2003

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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