ORCHESTRATED DEATH by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles


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A plethora of suspects, a reserved, mild-mannered hero, and the understatement so typical of the traditional British procedural mark the mystery debut of longtime English novelist Harrod-Eagles (Anna, p. 954), who, here, animates her routine plotting with the love-life of her unhappily married, middle-aged Detective Inspector Bill Slider, now trying to identify the naked young woman's body found in an abandoned London flat. Clues lead Slider and his partner, young Lothario Atherton, to the Philharmonic and the corpse's seatmate in the string section, Joanna Marsh, with whom Slider falls passionately in tryst, maybe even in love, to the worry of his mother-henning partner. The victim, violinist Anne-Marie Austen, is barely missed by her cold aunt, who stands to inherit her fortune, but is sentimentally mourned by local vet Hildyard. Moreover, tins of exotic olive oil and a secret Stradivarius indicate that Anne-Marie had international mob connections--which brings in the Special Branch and shunts Slider off the case. But determined to catch the killer, Slider persists--and narrowly escapes conflagration before resolving matters to his own satisfaction. First in a projected series and more notable for its romantic shenanigans than its mayhem. Still: an acceptable addition to the cozy British genre.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1992
Page count: 266pp
Publisher: Scribners