A LIKENESS IN STONE by J. Wallis Martin


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Twenty years ago, Thames Valley Chief Inspector Bill Driver was sure that Helena Warner, an undergraduate reading English at Oxford, was dead, not just missing, and that her lover Ian Gilmore had killed her. But the absence of Helena’s body, presumably buried on the vast marsh surrounding the house from which she’d vanished, kept the case on hold. Now a grisly discovery has reopened it. Divers exploring the house, submerged in a reservoir since a few days after Helena’s disappearance, have found her corpse shoved into a wardrobe inside, urging Driver out of retirement to join his younger colleagues in bringing Gilmore to justice. Fascinatingly, Martin shows how the past two decades have kept the rest of the principals as frozen in time as Helena. Gilmore’s housemate, sculptor Richard Wachmann, has long been institutionalized for depression. Joan Poole, Helena’s dull friend and her rival for Gilmore’s attention, remains trapped in the body she loathes and in her hatred of Helena. Cora Bowerman, the heiress who’s asked Wachmann to sculpt a likeness of her long-dead lover, has never forgiven her dead father for turning him out of the house and sending him to his death in the war. And Gilmore himself is haunted by the twin specters of vanished Helena and relentless Driver, now both unnervingly back in his life. An intense, exceptionally accomplished debut. Fans of Minette Walters’s moody British puzzlers will find it irresistible.

Pub Date: May 11th, 1998
ISBN: 0-312-18626-6
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1998