Scotland Yard Supt. Richard Jury is dragged into his 22nd case by the first of many children wise and meddlesome beyond their years.
Because he looks taller than 13, Benny Keegan is able to talk his way first into a job as kitchen help at the Zetter, a “restaurant with rooms” in Clerkenwell, and then into pinch-hitting for room-service waiter Gilbert Snow. That’s why he’s the one who finds the body of Billy Maples, and that’s why his old acquaintance Richard Jury, whom he telephones, joins beautiful Islington Inspector Lu Aguilar on the case. (Joining her in bed—early, often and volcanically—is Jury’s own idea.) It’s hard to imagine who killed inoffensive Billy, who loved Henry James and contemporary painting and who died intestate, leaving his considerable trust fund to a wealthy father who scarcely needed it. It’ll be up to Jury and his foppish friend Melrose Plant, in a role that suits him unusually well this time, to connect the dots between Billy’s murder, James’s novels and a long-buried WWII outrage so ghastly that it turns the heat on everyone in Billy’s circle, from his confidential assistant Kurt Brunner to his ex-lover Angela Riffley to a brace of relatives who look more sinister on each return visit.
Series fans will welcome the return of plausible psychopath Harry Johnson (The Old Wine Shades, Feb. 2006) and several key supporting players that Grimes presents with sympathetic insight.