COFFIN IN THE MUSEUM OF CRIME by Gwendoline Butler

COFFIN IN THE MUSEUM OF CRIME

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Scotland Yard's John Coffin (Coffin Underground, etc) has been made head of the police force in a newly formed district called Docklands, an area with a long history chock-full of villains that's now being gentrified. Coffin lives in one example of the work being done--a flat in what was St. Luke's Old Church, currently owned by his rich, energetic sister Letty, who has installed a small theater in part of the building. Actress-director Stella Pinero, a past romance of Coffin's, occupies a second apartment. Coffin has scarcely begun to know the facets of his new job when a garden urn containing a head and hand is found in the gutter by schoolboy Billy Larger. The head is soon identified as that of Peter Tiler, an unsavory one-time caretaker at the church. The search for the remainder of his body turns up that of his wife Edna, found hanging in a bathroom of their house, and continues with a series of gruesome discoveries that solves a number of mysterious disappearances in the district. All this is complicated by a strange illness affecting participants in a luncheon at the local Crime Museum--and by young Billy's sudden vanishing act. Coffin manages, with a strong dose of his vaunted intuition, to put it all together--just a shade behind clever Stella--in a barely believable story made palatable by the author's chatty, vivid characters and style, and by a sharply delineated portrait of a neighborhood in flux. Modestly entertaining; strongest in local color.

Pub Date: Aug. 24th, 1990
Publisher: St. Martin's