London detectives search for the murderer of a neighborhood philanthropist.
Retired solicitor Lionel Bygod had just begun to write out a check in the elegant reception room of his Shepherd’s Bush flat when someone bashed in the back of his head with a bronze statuette. DI Bill Slider (Blood Never Dies, 2012, etc.) and his subordinates interview Bygod’s acquaintances, who assure them that the victim was a quiet, well-mannered man who loved the theater, was active in volunteer work and helped people in the area, especially those down on their luck. Bygod was a moderately wealthy man with no known next of kin and no will. What could have driven someone to kill him? Maybe the unpopular defense case that brought him nothing but harassment and drove him into retirement. Besides searching for the most vocal of Bygod’s persecutors as a possible suspect, Slider also grills Angela Kroll, Bygod’s housekeeper, who has a key to the flat and a husband deeply in debt. A mystery woman from Bygod’s Oxford days and a missing photograph make Slider question whether the victim was really the honest and generous man he seemed. And who was the intended payee of the check that Bygod never finished writing?
Levelheaded DI Slider returns in a satisfying balance of bullpen banter, lively characterization and thorough detection. Although Harrod-Eagles (Kate’s Progress, 2013, etc.) tips her hand earlier than she might have, a poignant ending more than makes up for this minor lapse.