Books by M.R.D. Meek

Released: Feb. 1, 2003

"The constant cutting between what amount to two series of interviews dampens the suspense, especially since the only common factor in the two cases is the use of historic fatalities to cover up the more intimate kind."
Developer Mervyn Prentiss, the wealthy Chairman of Newtown Council, is a solid citizen, and he doesn't want any hint of scandal when he marries Alicia Simon, the daughter of Lord Allen. So it's important for him to establish that his long-estranged wife Linde is dead, he tells solicitor Lennox Kemp (If You Go Down to the Woods, 2002, etc.), or to find and divorce her if she isn't. Though Kemp, instinctively taking against his client, recoils from the sizeable premium he offers, he takes the case at his regular rate and hires enquiry agent Henry Pocket to trace Mrs. Prentiss, née Siegelinde Neumann—something Pocket does with such success that Prentiss pulls him off his investigations in Scarborough and packs him off to Germany, where he'll hear a tale of Linde Neumann's last days so pat it can't possibly be true. Meantime, Kemp's partner Franklyn Davey, unhappy that his fiancée, Dinah Prescott, is grief-stricken over the murder of her college friend, Scottish television producer Annabel Angus, in the World Trade Center bombing and the death just after—or was it just before?—of Annabel's mother back home on the island of Bute that he invites her to accompany him in finding out everything they can about Annabel's own last days, kicking off another trip that will be equally full of lies and revelations of skullduggery. Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 1, 2000

English lawyer Lennox Kemp, once a p.i. (Touch and Go, 1993, etc.), newly married to Mary Blane from the US, has bought a house in Newton from elderly Mrs. Channing, who's headed for a nursing home. Mary's next-door neighbor Gwendolyne Weston suffered a stroke sometime back and is now confined to a wheelchair, unable to speak. Primrose Sutton, unmarried, with a small daughter, provides most of Gwen's care. Schoolteacher Grace Juniper has just moved into one upstairs flat; the other is occupied by young law clerk Gregory Venn, often visited by Jason and Blanche Quigley, twin relatives of influential Simon Quigley, chairman of the Town Council. No sooner has Mary made a note of all this than things start to go wrong next door. Grace takes a fatal fall down a back stairway; Gwen keeps struggling to communicate something to Mary; but the climax comes when Blanche is found strangled in nearby woods and Gregory charged with the crime. Lennox works with his old friend Inspector John Upshire to search out the truth, but it's Mary, eavesdropping at the risk of her life, who uncovers the truth. Overpopulated and overplotted. The confusing family connections quickly pall, and only Mary's spunky persona keeps a glimmer of interest alive. Read full book review >
Released: June 12, 1997

Lawyer Lennox Kemp of Newtown, England (Touch and Go, 1993, etc.), is back, this time with a new wife— the plain and plain- spoken Mary Blane, an Irish-American. Lennox is happy in his marriage but currently dismayed by a series of letters he's been getting—vindictive, threatening, unsigned—and he's concerned even more by a story about the letters in the local newspaper. Lennox is especially uneasy about anything that might cast a shadow on the reputation of Gillorn's, his law firm. When Tony Lambert, a young, fondly regarded member of the firm is killed by a blow to the head, the body found beside Lennox's car, wearing a coat similar to his, Lennox is sure Lambert was mistakenly killed in his place by the unknown letter writer. Meanwhile, longtime friend Detective Inspector John Upshire is getting nowhere with the case, and Lennox's usual deductive powers have given way to feelings of guilt and depression. Mary decides she must do something and proceeds to nose about—concentrating mainly on Anita Allardyce, Lambert's ebullient Australian fiancÇe, to whom he'd willed his considerable fortune, and on her overbearing brother Zachary. Mary solves part of the puzzle with dispatch, but nearly comes to grief with the more challenging and dangerous business of murder, rousing Lennox from his lethargy to pursue the clues that will solve the mystery and keep Mary out of harm's way. Nicely done, with all the traditional British touches, but Mary, not unappealing in her diamond-in-the-rough way, can't hold a candle to a Lennox in full command of his sleuthing prowess. Readers can hope he'll be back on track next time out. Read full book review >
Released: March 2, 1993

Lawyer Lennox Kemp—his divorce, disgrace, and disbarment far behind him (This Blessed Plot, 1991, etc.)—is serenely practicing law in the London suburb of Newtown when he's informed of the death, in New York, of ex-wife Muriel. Remarried, rich and widowed, Muriel has left a fortune in gambling casinos to Preston Madison and Clive Horth, the shady partners who run them—or at least that's according to the will held by the impeccable firm of Eikenberg and Lazard, who now have evidence that a later will, duly executed but vanished, has left everything, including a raft of ruby jewels, to ex-husband Lennox Kemp. Those jewels have disappeared, too—in the possession of nurse Madeline Smith, now the hunted quarry of Madison and Horth, whose long reach extends even to the quiet environs of Newtown. A just-believable plot contrivance leads in time to a tense and neatly resolved windup that pushes Lennox's lawyerly skills to the limit. Vividly rounded characters and a literate, unpompous style add up to a warmly engrossing new chapter in the life and times of Lennox Kemp. Read full book review >
Released: April 4, 1989

Another lively, literate outing for wily, once-disbarred lawyer Lennox Kemp (Hang the Consequences, etc.), who's on holiday in Cornwall with friend Penelope Marsden. By coincidence, the wife and small son of businessman Vincent Shape, a recent client of Kemp's, are also vacationing in the vicinity—at Greystones, Mirabel Snape's childhood home, occupied but not owned by her aunt Susan Trevanion. Mirabel, described by her husband as recovering from a nervous breakdown, seems to be in the throes of an affair with Robin Adair, a poor but charismatic artist-teacher, and drinking more than is good for her. At the same time, there's much local gossip about the disappearance of local fisherman Steve Donray. When his severed head is hauled out of the sea, Mirabel collapses and—in the wake of her take-charge husband's arrival—is rushed to nearby Respite hospital, an expensive psychiatric facility. Tamsin Yago, her son's spunky young nurse, is dismissed, and Adair is nowhere to be found. By the time Kemp, fired by a haunting attraction to Mirabel, has bulldozed her out of the hospital, the police have honed in on a drug-smuggling ring; but Kemp manages to thwart a more insidious scheme—one with some surprising accomplices. A bit too much coincidence won't spoil the reader's enjoyment of solidly drawn characters, a lyrical picture of the Cornish coast, or the sensitive treatment of Kemp and Penelope's emotional dilemma. A well-paced, polished performance. Read full book review >

A further chapter in the life and psyche of Newton's once-disbarred lawyer Lennox Kemp (Hang the Consequences, etc). Oddly fascinated by Venetia Courtenay, who, with her twin brother Vivian, has just come into the long-awaited legacy of Courtenay Manor and its landholdings, Kemp is distracted from his mundane workload. The disappearance of farm worker Luciano Sorrento, reported by his dim, slatternly wife, is on the back burner until a body is found and identified as her husband. At this point Kemp begins to hear disquieting rumors—of a vanished American; of brash plans for Courtenay Manor; of some odd travels of the Sorrentos and a secret from recent Courtenay history. He manages to put together a viable scenario—one that leads him to get a near-suicidal trap, supposedly with the approval of police Inspector John Upshire. A too-predictable plot and a windup too far-fetched—but otherwise literate, moderately engrossing entertainment nicely laced with a sense of menace. Read full book review >