THE APRIL RAINERS by Anthea Fraser


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The English country town of Shillingham is home to Chief Inspector David Webb (Six Proud Walkers, etc., etc.). It's also home base for world-famous violinist-composer Felicity Harwood, whose brother Six Julian conducts the town's respected symphony orchestra. Webb is too busy to attend Harwood's homecoming concert, which Hannah James, his longtime companion, tapes for him. The strangling murder of wife-beating Ted Baxter has him fully occupied, more so when it's followed by the similar death of businessman James Jessel. The crimes are linked by elegantly printed notes received by the victims, threatening death in eight days and signed ""The April Rainers."" Both men had spread misery in the lives around them, but matters are further confused when the computer turns up several like cases around the country, all of them unsolved. In the meantime, Harwood and her indispensable, unattractive secretary-aide Hattie Matthews are staying with Sir Julian, his wife, and daughter Camilla, while Harwood presents a resoundingly successful new work and tries to persuade music teacher-critic Mark Templeton to collaborate on her biography. Then an unforeseen calamity brings to light some new facets of the inspector's murder case (long after they've been picked up by the reader), and he proceeds to wind things up in his usual civilized fashion. The author's quiet, confident style, some mildly interesting sub-dramas, and a tidily constructed plot add up to an unexplosive but gently engaging diversion.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1990
Publisher: Doubleday