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Australia's appealing Inspector Scobie Malone (Now and Then, Amen, etc.) reopens a case he couldn't solve 20 years ago, when he was a tyro constable: the disappearance of Sir Walter Springfellow, a former justice of the court and Director General of the Australian secret service (ASIO). Sir Walter's skeleton--with jawbone blown away--has finally appeared. To solve that murder, Scobie and Sgt. Clements interview his multimillonairess widow Venetia, now trying to take over the family stock; daughter Justine (who may have been fathered by John Leeds, Sir Walter's best friend and now police commissioner); and his sister Emma, who is soon murdered in her home. Meanwhile, Leeds is apologetically pressuring Scobie not to reveal his connection to the Springfellows; Clements wants to see Justine in the dock for Emma's murder; and the ASIO is stalling on releasing Sir Walter's dossier. Furthermore: Chilla Duran, sentenced to prison by Sir Walter, has been released and is tailing the Springfellow women, who have just lost $80 million in assets due to bad advice from second-in-command Michael Broad. With steady, unrelenting police work, Scobie at last bares all secrets and solves two murders, though one has a change in corpse. The ever-readable Cleary is, as always, ingratiating, with wry police/con humor and sturdy plotting. Smooth and steady reading.

Pub Date: Jan. 31st, 1989
Publisher: Morrow