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by H. R. F. Keating
St Martin's Minotaur, February 2004
249 pages
ISBN: 0312316577

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Harriet Martens is a British detective superintendent and has been chosen to look into a nasty scandal in the department. She is termed a female gentleman and a Northern tart. These inferences make her job twice as difficult as it should be. Investigating two suspected officers, she hears both of them give her the same information, verbatim. This, of course, throws a red flag into the mixture and alerts Harriet. It appears just too well rehearsed. One of the gents has been seen with a lady and what a surprise when this lady's identity is learned!

Frank Parkins, crime reporter for the Sunday Herald Chief, wrote the article hinting at some improprieties. I wished that his character had been more fully developed as I think he has some interesting stories for the reader. Parkins is talking about corruption and Martens needs to find out where it began and how far it has reached within the department. She does meet with opposition and is given some false hints, which prove to be an obstacle. For Harriet, this simply meant that she needs to be more cunning than her adversaries. Her strength of character is paramount.

I especially liked the crisp dialogue between the Boxer (her superior) and Harriet. Through the Boxer's conversation, I not only learned about him, but also found out more about Harriet. Their relationship is challenging, at times humorous, with all the earmarks of competition.

For those readers that enjoy police procedural mysteries, this may be a good visit for you.

Reviewed by Rita Ratacheck, March 2004

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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