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by Jim Kelly

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-78029-049-2
Publisher: Creme de la Crime

It’s open season for disasters, felonies and all manner of malfeasance in Cambridgeshire in journalist Philip Dryden’s seventh outing.

Dryden has just been appointed editor of The Crow on the strength of his promise to raise the paper’s profile by launching a series of regional editions. The gods of journalism are cooperating by providing enough copy for a dozen editions. A surprisingly well-organized gang has stolen metal from the roof of Christ Church and half a dozen other local sites. Rev. Jennifer Temple-Wright, the vicar, is bent on evicting blind old Albe Haig from his tenancy in a church outbuilding. Inside the church hangs kitchen porter Sima Shuba, shot and crucified. Korean War veteran Jock Donovan swears he can hear excruciating high-pitched noises coming from the wind farm nearby. PC Stokely Powell wants Dryden to look into the murder of Muriel Calder’s farmer husband, Ronald, by three art thieves who went on a home-invasion spree over 10 years ago. Cabbie Humph Humphries’ daughter, Grace, goes missing. So do Julian Amhurst, a chemistry whiz despondent because he didn’t get into Cambridge, and Will Brinks, who spotted a pair of Boreal Owls, the rare funeral owls whose sighting indicates that death is at hand. They don’t know the half of it.

Just as much criminal mischief as Nightrise (2013), but this time, Kelly makes no attempt to pull all the threads together. The result, sensitive and heartfelt to a fault, is the sort of round robin you might expect from the 87th Precinct: a dizzying range of twists and turns and an awful lot of loose ends.