DOWN AMONG THE DEAD MEN by Geraldine Evans


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Yorkshire Inspector Joe Rafferty's original hope that Barbara Longman was smothered among the wildflowers in Tiffey Meadow by whoever has already killed two women across the river in Suffolk -- somebody he won't have the primary responsibility for catching -- is dashed when the Suffolk police get two confessions, but not three, from their suspect, confirming Rafferty's suspicion that his murder is the work of a copycat. Who lured the ecology-minded victim out to the meadow with a phony call warning that neighboring farmer Cyril Thomson was threatening to plow up the wildflowers? Rafferty and his obtrusively well read sergeant, David Llewellyn, can't believe that Barbara's ineffectual husband, Henry Longman, has the gumption for murder. But how about the other, more substantial members of her family circle: Henry's acid-tongued first wife Anne, who saw Barbara as an obstacle to her getting custody of her son Maxie away from Henry? Anne's younger brother Charles Shore, inheritor of the family business, whom Barbara first accused of dumping pollutants into the river and then started an affair with? Charles's well-kept wife, Hilary, a faded actress who'd just told meek Henry that his wife was sleeping with his boss? Competent and colorless, with the emphasis on the he-said/she-said of the suspects' alibis, until the denouement, when the grisly absurdity of the killer's motive gives the book a perverse distinction that sets it quite apart from Dead Before Morning (1993).

Pub Date: Dec. 13th, 1994
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's