A QUESTION OF MURDER by Erie Wright

A QUESTION OF MURDER

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Likable, laconic Toronto cop Charlie Salter (The Night the Gods Smiled, etc.) gets what seems to be a dull, petty assignment. Merchants on trendy Bloor St. have been receiving anonymous threat-letters--on behalf of the local street-peddlers, who've been harassed by some shopkeepers. Could the peddlers be a real danger? It doesn't seem so, especially when British royalty visits the area without incident: no terrorist attacks, just a bit of mild picketing. But then a van explodes on Bloor St., killing Danny Pearson, sleazy ex-husband of bookstore-owner Ruth. Was Pearson the victim of peddler-terrorism gone awry? Possibly. But, while quizzing the scrappy street-vendors, Charlie also inquires into Pearson's recent life-style: his affair with a married woman; his fly-by-night business schemes; his brash, pathetic dabblings in the drug-dealing underworld; his strained relations with ex-wife Ruth and her two devoted male friends (one platonic, one not). And the solution, though far from riveting, involves a pleasing twist of poetic justice. As before, Wright fills in around Charlie's primary case with a low-key, engaging cluster of subplots: a mini-investigation into art forgery; the imminent retirement of Charlie's boss (which may lead him to quit); and the offbeat, developing relationship between Charlie's teen-age son and Grandpa Salter, an ornery recluse. So, if not as distinguished or distinctive as some previous Charlie Salter books, this is emphatically agreeable fare: unforced police-procedure shaded with atmosphere and charm.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1988
Publisher: Scribners