CORPORAL SMITHERS, DECEASED by Jack S. Scott

CORPORAL SMITHERS, DECEASED

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Again, as in his Inspector Rosher mysteries, Scott is far more interested in sardonic/ sentimental character-comedy than in mystery--and this small tale of British-Army base murder offers virtually no sleuthing or puzzling. Corporal Smithers, a bland young chap, is found dead at his desk, gun in hand: an apparent suicide. But Scott's quasi-hero, Company Sergeant Major Ackroyd (career soldier, divorced loner), is a mite dubious about a couple of details. Even more suspicious is the dead lad's mum, a comely divorcee who keeps demanding a fuller investigation. And after the discovery of one or two clues, the truth about Smithers' death promptly surfaces: he got in the way of an Army-supplies theft ring (with terrorist connections). But, though Ackroyd delivers a bit of impromptu heroism in a showdown with the bad guys, his clumsy, budding romance with Mrs. Smithers--and its promise of a life of tender feelings at last--ultimately fades away. Nearly non-existent as a mystery, then; but some readers may be diverted by Scott's ironic portrait of the hapless Ackroyd (angst beneath the laughable spit-and-polish exterior) and of a modern-day British barracks, complete with goons and washouts.

Pub Date: Dec. 15th, 1983
Publisher: St. Martin's