The triumphant creator of Charlie Resnick and Frank Elder introduces a new crime-stopping duo.
DI Will Grayson and his partner DS Helen Walker, mainstays of Cambridge’s Major Investigation Team, are repulsed by the brutal bashing of Stephen Bryan. The two first lean toward Bryan’s rejected suitor, Mark McKusick, as the bludgeoner. Then other facts come to light, including a rash of homophobic hate-bashings within the past year; an anonymous threat warning Bryan off his latest project, a biography of ’50s film star Stella Leonard; and the strong-arm tactics of real-estate developer Howard Prince, married to Stella’s emotionally fragile sister. Once Stephen’s sister Lesley, a BBC newscaster unhappy with the lack of police progress on her brother’s case, strikes up a friendship with tabloid darling Natalie Prince, an uncontrollable relative of Stella’s, Harvey cuts between Lesley’s snooping and Grayson and Walker’s more temperate investigation. Along the way, Walker is hospitalized after trying to break up a gang of racists; Will focuses on Howard Prince’s dubious business practices; and Lesley and Natalie head for the Orkneys, where family secrets come out. Forensics will solve the Bryan murder, but it’ll take more than one guilty conscience to clarify the mess Stella’s made of her family’s life.
If anyone deserves to nudge Ian Rankin from his post as Britain’s bestselling crime writer, it’s Harvey (Darkness & Light, 2006, etc.). Reginald Hill explains it best: If he gets any better, the rest of us may have to kill him.