Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Megan Harpur, wife of Detective Chief Superintendent Colin Harpur, is murdered in a station car park. She was returning from a theatre and shopping trip to London, which involved a meeting with her lover Tambo, a former colleague of Harpur and Isles now relocated to the Met. 

The story flashbacks to Megan's various 'cultural' trips to London, and moves forward to consider how Harpur and his daughters deal with the loss of a not so perfect wife and mother, as well as the investigation into her murder. Harpur has his own sources and while Desmond Isles follows normal channels, Jack Lamb Harpur's grass provides assistance to bring an almost moral ending to the case.

This is the first of Bill James Harpur and Isles mysteries that I have read and he definitely has a unique style. The dialogue varies between rapid staccato  and passages of acerbic bitterness. The characters are brilliantly unsavoury but the world of the police Bill James descibes is probably more accurate than most people in "the job" would want to admit.

"Francis do you want to attend, with companion of course, as long he-she washes under the arms? You still hetero? I pry only so we can alternate gender placings at the table, on which Sarah's fussy.
I would have asked earlier but had to mull over at length whether I really wanted a thin-lipped arrogant prat like you present on such a goodly occasion. But obviously Harpur will be there, so why not another who's had my wife? Christmas is hardly a time for mean spirits, surely."

"Thanks so much, sir," Garland replied. "It's very kind but I always go to my mother's."
"How sweet," Isles said.

A brilliant book from what appears to be a unique series, which I will hopefully dip into again when I have more time.


Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Ah, it's always good to hear from the imimitable Desmond Iles!
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

7:00 PM  

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