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by Judith Cutler
St Martin's Minotaur, June 2004
304 pages
ISBN: 031231194X

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

DS Kate Power has been transferred from CID in London to Birmingham after the death of her partner and lover. She is the highest-ranking female CID officer in Birmingham and has to deal with sexism as well as insubordination.

She has been on sick leave since injuring herself on a previous case. Returning from a holiday in Florence, her seat mate starts a conversation with her. She gives him her business card, and shortly after returning home, she is called to a case of purported suicide. A man has been found hanging with Kate's business card in his pocket. The coroner pronounces suicide, but Kate isn't sure. Even on such a short acquaintance with Alan Grafton, she thinks he had no reason to commit suicide.

Kate herself is beginning to settle in at the house given to her by great-aunt Cassie. She's had it renovated, and, at least, has a place to come home to now. Cassie is more or less happy in her nursing home, and Kate visits her whenever possible. DCI Graham Harvey is also more than helpful to Kate, as is her partner, DC Colin Roper, who has his own secrets. Her immediate superior, DI Cope, is usually nasty, however.

The Kate Power series is a good example of the British police procedural, spending as much time on the characterizations as on the crime. If the descriptions of bits of Birmingham sound strange, it's because this title, the second in the series, was released in Britain more than five years ago. I wonder why St. Martin's is just beginning to issue them here. Whatever the reason, start with POWER ON HER OWN, the first in the series, and then go on to STAYING POWER. There are now a total of six Power titles published in England.

Reviewed by Barbara Franchi, June 2004

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