An urbane fugitive’s intention to keep a low profile is destroyed when he witnesses an assassination.
Crime writer David Mitre, whose erudite first-person narration suggests vintage Maugham, is hiding in plain sight in Cyprus, along with some 40,000 other “fugitives from Her Majesty’s justice.” As he sits near a bar at a table overlooking the beach, an attractive woman sitting nearby is brutally, and efficiently, stabbed to death. Mitre does nothing because he’s determined to keep a safe distance from any investigation. His plan is foiled when expressive local police detective Cyril Kiriakou questions him about the crime. In strategically sprinkled bursts of information, Mitre reveals to the reader that, while he’s a published author, he’s also a fugitive, a man of many identities. Soon enough, FBI special agents Frank Kim and Delia Delacorte track him down and make him an offer he can’t refuse: investigate the murder or face imprisonment for his own crimes. As he probes, the cheeky Mitre can’t resist using the names of various American crime writers as aliases. More details of his colorful past emerge as his investigation brings him up against a glamorous French actress, a pair of adorable young refugees, and a pack of Russian mobsters. Through it all, his handlers at the FBI have an amusingly frustrating time trying in vain to keep him on a short leash.
The prolific Grant (The Tattooed Heart, 2015, etc.) offers a shaggy mystery, but one full of colorful characters, with a charming raconteur at its center.