THE UNQUIET DEAD by Gay Longworth


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Forgiveness is indeed a blessing.

Detective Inspector Jessie Driver, of the West End Central CID, has her hands full. Her brother Bill, back from treating AIDS victims in Africa, is camping out in her flat; her floundering romance with rock star P.J. Dean is about to become fodder for the tabloids; and DI Mark Ward and her new boss, DCI Moore, are both hostile toward her, particularly when she suggests that stage actress Sarah Klein has concocted a missing-daughter scenario to garner publicity for her new show. Even worse, when Jessie tries tracking down the daughter, she winds up at the derelict Marshall Street Baths, where Don, the slightly deranged caretaker, keeps repeating, “He drowned. It was an accident,” which hardly explains the mummified body, chained to the wall and wearing a watch that stopped on Feb. 23, 1989. Who was the mummy? Why was he left to die in the baths? These questions lead Jessie to two family tragedies. Anglican exorcist Father Forrester’s suggestion that the “unquiet souls” stuck between here and hereafter must be forgiven before they can move on unsettles pragmatic Jessie, still grieving over her mother’s death from cancer. Self-serving lies, demented rationales, and stirrings of faith must all be examined before Jessie understands the depths to which forgiveness can drive people.

Fine-tuned, complex plotting, with the beleaguered Jessie (Dead Alone, 2003) a heroine worth rooting for—although nonbelievers like her may find their cynicism challenged here.

Pub Date: Dec. 13th, 2004
ISBN: 0-312-31063-3
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Dunne/Minotaur
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2004