PAST MORTEM by Ben Elton


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Someone is killing the worst bullies in England.

A serial sociopath with a heart of gold? Not bloody likely, says New Scotland Yard. To be sure, the killer’s victims are an unwholesome lot, but Detective Sergeant Ed Newson can’t accept vigilante justice. And he’s quicker than most to spot the bully in the bully slayer—whether because, at 34, he’s the youngest inspector on the force, or because, at five feet four, he’s the shortest. Ed wouldn’t give a second thought to the way his dim-witted colleagues look down on him if it weren’t for his hopeless love for Sergeant Natasha Wilkie. He thinks being “short-arsed”—an epithet hurled at him in Natasha’s hearing—undercuts his masculine appeal, diminishing him in her lovely eyes. As the sergeant continues to keep her own counsel, the killings mount. At length two of them strike close to home, echoing half-forgotten scenarios played out in the Shalford Grammar School’s class of ’86, Ed’s class. What does it all mean? Has the past once again become prologue? Is the bent, brilliant killer now zeroing in on Ed? If he is, who will end up getting short shrift?

Elton (High Society, 2003, etc.) brings off a fresh, funny, occasionally pointed, occasionally raunchy, irresistibly entertaining tour de force.

Pub Date: April 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-593-05095-9
Page count: 360pp
Publisher: Transworld UK/Trafalgar
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2005


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