Not such a quiet place after all, since the killing of upmarket divorcÇe Lynn Hurst in the aptly named English town of Long Slaughter is only the first act of an improbably tangled tale. Aggressive Inspector Denis Bowker, called in to solve her murder, suspects from the beginning that Lynn was killed because of her love life; the problem is that almost every male in Long Slaughter was seen leaving Lynn's cottage or riding in the car bought for her by her neighbor, comic-book artist Empson Rowley. Lynn's former husband, the self-styled ``Pooh-Bear'' infuriated at the alimony he was paying out, still couldn't stay away from her; neither could bank clerk Roy Sibson, or London lawyer Stephen Fenwick, or—a surprise this, in view of Lynn's well-attested desire for the finer things in life—butcher Gavin Fowler. All this amorous activity can only be a sorrow to Lynn's fiancÇ, architect Mark Stanhope, and an aggravation to the police—especially when two of Lynn's lovers turn up as dead as she is, adding hints of theft, fraud, and revenge to the already crowded list of motives. The denouement, which posits an awful lot of murderers slinking about, confirms your worst fears about all those subplots. Inspector Bowker, who could give lessons on intimidation to Raymond Chandler's Bay City police, is the real find of this first novel.
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