Lambert and Hook (A Good Walk Spoiled, 2008, etc.) investigate the murder of an obnoxious English vintner.
You’d think that earning his Open University degree after six years’ arduous part-time study would give Gloucestershire DS Bert Hook a leg up in figuring out who shot Martin Beaumont in his car at the foot of desolate Howler’s Heath. Surely his academic accomplishment should be good for more than accolades from his proud wife and derision from his teenaged sons. But suspects abound. The entire Abbey Vineyards staff despised Beaumont. Chef Jason Knight and Gerry Davies, director of retail operations, wanted Beaumont to make them full partners. Hotel director Vanda North, on the other hand, wanted him to release her from the limited financial partnership she entered into in the rosy days when she was his mistress. Accountant Alistair Morton remembers that he worked for pennies during the vineyard’s lean years, only to be denied a full partnership as it blossomed. And Sarah Vaughn, director of research and development, just wanted her boss to stop sexually harassing her. Further afield, strawberry farmer Tom Ogden bristled at Beaumont’s attempt to bully him into consolidating his smallholding with his more prosperous neighbor’s. Wife Jane Beaumont, though hampered by the medicine Martin forced on her, wasn’t too addled to want out of their loveless marriage. Interviewing all these potential killers takes patience and time. But teamed up with Chief Superintendent John Lambert, Hook can’t be beat at the game he knows best.
Gregson’s focus on the routine side of policing unfortunately makes for a routine read.