ASHES TO ASHES by Mary Monica Pulver


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A third case for mellowing though still incorruptible Sgt. Peter Brichter (Unforgiving Minutes; Murder at the War), who now seeks an arsonist, a murderer, and a missing Mafioso. Meanwhile, Peter staunchly avoids the pitfalls of working partners with a bent cop, and fights a last-ditch attempt against giving in to wife Katherine (the Treetower heiress) and her request to have a baby. Who torched Crazy Dave's TV-and-appliance store, and why? Owner Wagner, hoping to use the insurance to pay off his debts to Mob biggie Vigotti? Or maybe Vigotti himself, as a lesson to welshers? Zax Kadet, the fire department's arson ins. pector, finds a partially charred corpse, patiently explains the finer points of flaming to Peter, whose homicide partner Dahl is himself a bit of a career arsonist, and bent on framing Peter for another suspicious fire. Then Vigotti disappears--a probably unrelated Mob killing--and the corpse turns out to be part of the Federal Witness Relocation Program, up to his old criminal tricks. Diligent sleuthing leads to a carchase finale--while the pregnant Katherine talks things through with her old professor. Tougher than previous Pulver mysteries, with more emphasis on police politics/procedures, but still with amiable digressions: a practice-session for the Society of, Creative Anachronism joust; an early a.m. guard-dog scene; horse diseases only a vet would want to know more about. A bit talky, but pleasant nonetheless.

Pub Date: Dec. 16th, 1988
Publisher: St. Martin's