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by Barbara Fradkin
RendezVous Crime, September 2009
296 pages
$16.95 CAD
ISBN: 1894917855

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Readers will not be disappointed with this latest, the seventh, Inspector Green novel from Barbara Fradkin. As always her narrative and dialogue quickly engage us although this time I felt as if she was juggling almost too many plot lines as Green and his detectives attempt to unravel the mystery of just who did kill a retired psychiatrist. Dr Rosenthal is found in an alleyway near Ottawa's Byward Market, the victim of what might at first seem to be a vicious mugging. Young black teenagers caught on surveillance cameras are the first suspects and Fradkin wanders down that plot line to question what effects a history of violence can have on the present lives of Somali immigrants.

Much is also made of the strained relationship between Green and his newest detective, Sergeant Marie Claire Levesque. She is much too easily convinced that the black street gang is responsible for the assault. Meanwhile Green explores the possibility of anti-Semitic motives when a gold Star of David is found ground into the pavement by the victim.

As we learn more about Dr Rosenthal, we discover that though he is alienated from his only son, tenants of the apartments he owns claim he has a generous nature. A young student occupant tells the police about another young woman who frequently visits the doctor. Could she be the same woman viewed near the Byward market on the surveillance tapes? Although officially retired, it seems Rosenthal might still be involved in treating patients. In fact Green's wife Sharona, a psychiatric nurse, recognizes the visitor as one of her former hospital patients.

In the end, Green's personal relationships with family and colleagues intermingle with the various plot lines to provide us with a compelling read. Fradkin definitely keeps an ace up her sleeve before finally revealing who killed the doctor and why. But the answer, like the plot,is not a simple one and we are somewhat unprepared for the final and somewhat violent events that wrap up this case.

Reviewed by Ann Pearson, November 2009

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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