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 The antic, murderous gang who took that Exeter bank for ú1.8 million (Club, 1995) are at it again. ``Caring'' Oliver Leach, the brains of the operation, is rumored to have taken off to the Continent with a good bit more than his share of the loot, so some freelancers who know about the job kidnap his daughter on spec. Meanwhile, as Chief Supt. Colin Harpur and his colleagues are taking turns holding the marble hand of Patsy Leach, who's convinced that her daughter has kidnapped herself, Caring's old mate Ralph Ember knows the kidnapping will never work, since he's already killed Caring himself, buried him out in Cheltenham, and comforted the widow, well, astride the grave. But Ember can't help feeling a responsibility toward Lynette Leach: ``What he had before him was what definitely had to be referred to as a moral dilemma.'' So as Harpur is enjoying the favors of the Assistant Chief Constable's wife, herself fresh from the embraces of other Caring buddies, lower-ranking police officers, and heaven knows who else, Ember is fighting off the heavies who keep swarming over him and struggling to dope out a way to rise above himself and rescue the kiddie. As in James's seven other darkly comic procedurals: so many blandly sordid revelations about the coppers, this time enlivened with much coupling in Volvos and Ember's peerlessly middle-class thuggery, that you just have to laugh.

Pub Date: May 10th, 1996
ISBN: 0-88150-361-4
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Countryman
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1996


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