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by Graham Ison

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-7278-6290-3
Publisher: Severn House

A killing in a Chelsea house has roots that stretch all the way to Australia and branches that include three other murders.

When a neighbor’s complaint about noise sends the incongruously named PC Holmes and PC Watson to 27 Tavona Street, the door is answered by a man who’s holding a bra and a woman who’s not wearing one, or much of anything else. Extracting a promise to keep the noise down, the officers go on their way shortly before the house is set afire and the body of Diana Barton is discovered inside. The case falls into the laps of DCI Harry Brock and DS Dave Poole (Breach of Privilege, 2009, etc.), who swiftly uncover Diana’s party-girl tendencies. Diana’s much older husband James, who manages a hotel chain, insists that his wife was leading as quiet a life as he was, but he obviously doesn’t know that much about what was really going on, since he becomes the next victim. Suspicion for the two murders is generously distributed among Diana’s ex-lovers and the sexually uninhibited guests at the party she gave in the hours before her death. But Brock and Poole focus their attention on Diana’s ex-husband, Maurice Horton; his wife Faye; and his son Gregory, whom he and Diana haven’t seen ever since he took off for Australia years ago. Many rounds of questioning follow.

Plodding and tiresomely didactic about police procedure, though it’s fitfully amusing to see Brock and Poole interrogating suspects a lot less stuffy than they are.