AN EMPTY DEATH by Laura Wilson


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Was it death by enemy doodlebug or something more personal?

DI Stratton (The Innocent Spy, 2009, etc.) is called to a bomb site and a body that seems to be one more unidentified casualty of the Blitz. But on the autopsy table at Middlesex Hospital, the pathologist recognizes Duncan Reynolds, a staff physician, and will only commit to the diagnosis that Dr. Reynolds died from a great cranial wallop, perhaps from bomb debris, perhaps not. When Stratton begins questioning hospital employees about Reynolds, he learns from Nurse Leadbetter that the married medico and the beautiful Nurse Fay Marchant may have been intimate. Fay, who captivated not only Reynolds but new hospital physician James Dacre, seems innocent enough until Stratton catches her in several small lies and Dacre, obsessed with her, tries to compensate. A busy man, Dacre, who is not really a doctor at all, but a mortuary attendant impersonating one, must kill to protect his deceit. Leadbetter is strangled. Fay loses morphine vials. Stratton zeroes in on Dacre, who decides to murder him. Their conflict leads to a heart-wrenching, life-and-death drama involving Stratton’s wife and culminates in an unexpected plot twist.

The author offers vivid depictions of wartime London and Capgras Syndrome (a delusional disorder), not to mention a death that will leave you weeping.

Pub Date: March 15th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-312-53811-8
Page count: 432pp
Publisher: Minotaur
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2010


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