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by Susan Kelly
Allison and Busby, August 2005
288 pages
ISBN: 0749082011

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Superintendent Gregory Summers reluctantly attends a book signing with his psychology student girlfriend Angie, never guessing that it will lead him, somewhat indirectly, into a case from the past.

IRA man Liam Sullivan has been released from prison and has written a book on his part in the 1981 Windsor bombings. And when Greg and Angie turn up to the reading, Greg's colleague Deepak Gupta is there -- and they discover his sister was one of those killed in the atrocity.

And then there's the mysterious Aoife Cusack who also took part in the bombings, but has not been seen since.

Meanwhile, Greg finds himself trying to defuse the tension which Sullivan is all too keen to stir up, whilst investigating the murder of Robyn Marchant, a popular woman who has devoted her life to running a school for people with learning difficulties.

A DISGUISE FOR DEATH is obviously part of a series, and writer Susan Kelly has been a bit sparing with back story. All we know about 40-something Greg is that his son died several years back and he's now living with his daughter-in-law. If there was any angst over that, we don't see it here.

But A DISGUISE FOR DEATH is a rattling good read with a cast of engaging characters. Kelly's an accomplished storyteller, who writes fluently and is good on the dry-humoured asides. And she's found an under-used setting, as the book is set in and around Berkshire. Greg is based in Newbury and the bombing happened in Windsor. It's not a part of the UK usually featuring in crime novels, aside from Jennie Melville's fairly ghastly class-ridden Charmaine Daniels series.

On the negative side, I'd have liked some recapping for those new to the series, and Sullivan is a shallow and stereotypical character. Angie, Greg's girlfriend, is rarely seen, so it's a bit too pat when she comes up with an idea to help him crack the case.

But it's a well-written and topical story, which kept me engrossed to the end and makes me want to go and ferret out the earlier books.

Reviewed by Sharon Wheeler, September 2005

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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