COVER-UP by Anthony Oliver


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More droll, nasty goings-on in the little East Anglia village of Flaxfield--where incorrigible Mrs. Thomas and retired Inspector Webber (The Pew Group, The Property of a Lady) again get involved in a case involving murder, greed, art, and antiques. Joseph Greenwood, a London art-dealer, turns up dead--of natural causes--in the cottage owned by aging actress Victoria Varley. Why was Greenwood visiting Ms. Varley? And what happened to the 20,000 pounds that Greenwood was carrying? The reader is given a pretty good idea--thank to Oliver's blithe, crisp narration, which shifts viewpoint easily--from Greenwood's no-nonsense widow (and her silly mother-in-law) to an American con man to the quietly eccentric Flaxfield villagers. Could it be that everyone's on the hunt for a priceless modern painting lurking somewhere behind the gauche bric-a-brac that dominates the local dÉcor? So it seems. But then sexy Ms. Varley (who's been dallying with a handsome young gardener) disappears--and nosy Mrs. Thomas must quickly coordinate her forces (arthritic Webber, a young constable named Andy) to prevent further mayhem. The windup this time--involving the unmasking of a homicidal maniac--is less than satisfying. But inspector Webber and Mrs. T. make a fetchingly offbeat, lowkey pair of lover-sleuths; the supporting locals--including Mrs. T.'s effeminate son-in-law, antique dealer ""Betsey"" Trottwood--are scruffily charming in their faintly kinky way. And this is witty crime-comedy, never too farcical, for those who like their English villages wry, quirky, and occasionally earthy.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1987
Publisher: Doubleday