SUSPECT by B. M. Gill


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The rape and murder of student nurse Maggie McKendrick follows by a few months that of Sally Gray, a nurse in the same English hospital complex. A killer is loose: could it be George Webber, medical-records clerk and amateur violinist? After all, George's wife Sue was operated on unsuccessfully by Maggie McKendrick's surgeon father (after an accident which left Sue's legs paralyzed). Or could it be Ian Mayor, Maggie's lover, who soon after her death forms an alliance with Rachel, the sister of Sally Gray, victim #1? As in Gill's first novel, Death Drop, such suspicions are translated here into belabored emotional stewing--with added psychological complications from the Webbers' overly helpful neighbor Tessa Stannard, who secretly loves gentle George and passionately hates her uncouth policeman-husband Louis. So the story ambles and rambles between the households involved, touching on everyone's inner torment, but focusing most on George's misery as a major suspect. And though the climactic showdown (triggered by another of those convenient breezes which blow notes off mantelpieces) comes as a surprise, it's insufficient compensation for the gummy pace, stiff dialogue, and uniformly unappealing characters.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1981
Publisher: Scribners