COMPLICITY

An engrossing thriller in which all the murder victims apparently deserve, if not their cruel fates, at least a reckoning, leaving the hero (and the reader) with a guilty sense of admiration and appreciation for the clever serial killer. Scottish novelist Banks (Canal Dreams, 1991, etc.) takes as his protagonist Edinburgh journalist Cameron Colley, who smokes too much, drinks too much, plays seriously with hard drugs, and is addicted to computer games. A mysterious informant is feeding him just enough information to get him running about the countryside trying to track down a major story that shimmers enticingly just beyond his grasp. The stakes are raised when Colley, a not altogether likable but unfailingly interesting character, is implicated in a series of carefully planned assaults, most of them deadly and each with a message to send. Irresponsible businessmen, a pornographer, an incompetent doctor, a judge whose leniency set a convicted rapist free to strike again — vengeance is wreaked upon them and others like them, one by one, in a series of vignettes intercut with Colley's story. Both the journalist and the chief investigator on the case become convinced that the killer is someone close to Colley, who can determine who it is if he puts his mind to it. As Colley racks his brain, a series of flashbacks lead him inevitably to the vigilante's identity and, more importantly, to revelations about his past and his personality that give the book more-than-genre substance. Certain weaknesses will bother some readers — the revelation of the killer's identity seems not to have the dramatic impact that it should, for example — but these are overshadowed by the intriguing central character and a cleverly devised plot. Literate and satisfying, with a very nice ending.

Pub Date: Jan. 13, 1995

ISBN: 0-385-47540-3

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1994

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DEATH ON THE NILE

A HERCULE POIROT MYSTERY (HERCULE POIROT MYSTERIES)

One of her best. Poirot, again on vacation, falls foul of a murder on board a Nile river steamer, followed by two successive murders, obviously connected. A sophisticated group, an ingenious plot, clever deduction, swift-paced narrative. A little romance on the side lends glamour. First rate entertainment.

Pub Date: Feb. 8, 1938

ISBN: 0062073559

Page Count: 354

Publisher: Dodd, Mead

Review Posted Online: Sept. 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1938

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An anodyne visit with Tricia and her friends and enemies hung on a thin mystery.

A KILLER EDITION

Too much free time leads a New Hampshire bookseller into yet another case of murder.

Now that Tricia Miles has Pixie Poe and Mr. Everett practically running her bookstore, Haven’t Got a Clue, she finds herself at loose ends. Her wealthy sister, Angelica, who in the guise of Nigela Ricita has invested heavily in making Stoneham a bookish tourist attraction, is entering the amateur competition for the Great Booktown Bake-Off. So Tricia, who’s recently taken up baking as a hobby, decides to join her and spends a lot of time looking for the perfect cupcake recipe. A visit to another bookstore leaves Tricia witnessing a nasty argument between owner Joyce Widman and next-door neighbor Vera Olson over the trimming of tree branches that hang over Joyce’s yard—also overheard by new town police officer Cindy Pearson. After Tricia accepts Joyce’s offer of some produce from her garden, they find Vera skewered by a pitchfork, and when Police Chief Grant Baker arrives, Joyce is his obvious suspect. Ever since Tricia moved to Stoneham, the homicide rate has skyrocketed (Poisoned Pages, 2018, etc.), and her history with Baker is fraught. She’s also become suspicious about the activities at Pets-A-Plenty, the animal shelter where Vera was a dedicated volunteer. Tricia’s offered her expertise to the board, but president Toby Kingston has been less than welcoming. With nothing but baking on her calendar, Tricia has plenty of time to investigate both the murder and her vague suspicions about the shelter. Plenty of small-town friendships and rivalries emerge in her quest for the truth.

An anodyne visit with Tricia and her friends and enemies hung on a thin mystery.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0272-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: May 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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