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by Clare Curzon
Thomas Dunne Books, September 2004
224 pages
ISBN: 031231874X

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Beattie Weyman, DS Rosemary Zyczynski's friend and landlady, has bought an old country house and is having it divided into a few apartments of varying sizes, which she has sold to a group of people she hopes will become friends.

Rosemary, known as Z, has the upstairs front apartment. She is next to a mother and daughter, Mrs and Miss Winter who have purchased the other upstairs front flat. Downstairs is Beattie Weyman and a Mr Wormsley. Upstairs rear are supposed to be a family who renege at the last moment leaving the flat available to the next people on the list, who happen to be a mysterious older man, Mr Chisholm and his younger companion. The downstairs front one-bedroom flats will be occupied by the deputy headmistress of the local school, Miss Barnes, and Major Phillips. All are introduced to each other at a dinner thrown by Beattie in the downstairs front hall, which she hopes will act as a meeting place for all tenants.

A couple of months later, the body of a woman, naked except for a lush fur coat, is found in the front seat of her car, with a half-eaten sandwich next to her. DCI Mike Yeadings and his crew are called in. His DI is presently on leave, serving in Chechnya, so he reckons that this case will determine which of his two sergeants, Beaumont or Z, will become his second-in-command.

Z is more intimately involved in the investigation than she would like to be, but she knows she must carry on. Beaumont is also making a bit of extra effort, because this case might be the one on which Yeadings bases his choice of DI.

Curzon writes the best kind of British police procedural; one in which we care about all the characters and in which we are interested in the case. She spends a good part of the first two chapters laying out the characters and location. I've only read her two latest to be published in the US, but I think of Yeadings, Z, Beaumont et al as my friends and I will look forward to reading more about them.

Reviewed by Barbara Franchi, September 2004

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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