While completists wait for October and Kathy Kolla’s latest case (Dark Mirror), they can savor the 1996 novel that introduced her to the Met’s Serious Crime Division, though not yet to the United States.
If London clerk-typist Angela Hannaford thought of her flat in Kent as a refuge from the City, she was dead wrong. Someone assaulted her and stabbed her 40 times, continuing even after she’d died. The ghoulish murder is a welcoming present for Kathy, who now officially reports to longtime colleague DCI David Brock (Spider Trap, 2007, etc.). All but officially running the case, she concentrates on Tom Gentle, the coworker who’d bought Angela’s extra ticket for Macbeth the evening she died but then didn’t go with her. So invested does Kathy become in Gentle’s guilt that she’s deeply chagrined when he produces a convincing alibi for one of several earlier murders to which Serious Crime has linked this one. However, another lead turns even hotter when Kathy, investigating what she’s convinced is the unconnected disappearance of a middle-aged actress, ends up in the middle of an amateur theatrical company whose repertory provides an uncanny road map to the Hannaford case. As Kathy deals with an unsolicited, open-ended visit from her Aunt Mary, she bears down on a second suspect who’s equally defiant. The solution, like the best of Maitland’s Chinese-box puzzles, adds new twists that turn the case even darker.
Average for this outstanding series—in other words, a must-read for fans of the British procedural, with a hair-raising denouement.