THE MAN WHO CHANGED HIS NAME by Eric Wright

THE MAN WHO CHANGED HIS NAME

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Toronto's Inspector Charlie Salter returns for a fourth investigation--still not quite matching the engrossing tautness of his auspicious debut (The Night the Gods Smiled), but certainly maintaining the high level of this above-average series. Approached by his feminist ex-wife Gerry (after not seeing her for nearly 20 years), Charlie agrees to look into an unsolved case: the rape and murder of Nancy Cowell, who'd just recently come to town after separating from her cuckolded husband in Winnipeg. Was lonely Nancy a victim of the sleazy singles scene, slain after a one-night stand? And have the police neglected her case, as ex-wife Gerry believes, because of prejudice against ""promiscuous"" women? To find out, Charlie heads for Winnipeg--where his suspicions fall on Nancy's estranged husband (a self-made tycoon of Ukrainian descent, on her hostile old mother-in-law, on her secretive sister-in-law. He also inquires relentlessly into Nancy's dating history in Toronto, eventually getting some truth out of her handful of occasional boyfriends. And eventually the two lines of investigation overlap well enough to produce a solid, if uninspired, solution. Workmanlike plotting, without any truly gratifying twists--and the exploration of sexual mores may seem a little dated to US readers. But Charlie and wife Annie (who likes the ex-wife) remain warm, full-textured people, complete with humorous in-law problems at Christmas; the low-key illumination of Canadian cultures (e.g., the Ukrainian community) is again an intriguing plus; and Wright continues to invest his police-procedurals with an unusually strong element of life-sized human interest.

Pub Date: Aug. 20th, 1986
Publisher: Scribners