COPPER GOLD by Pauline Glen Window


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Winslow (The Witch Hill Murder) is a welcome addition to the front ranks of traditionalists, but she'd do well to take a hint from the grande dame emeritus whom she most resembles, the succinct Ngaio Marsh: while the likes of Sayers and P. D. James can add length and depth and keep their textures taut, the breezier Marsh (and Winslow) manner is best dressed as unpretentiously as possible. And, in this rather tortured case for ex-magician Supt. Merle Capricorn, Winslow allows Merle's brooding--and the overall pace--to slog on a shade too self-indulgently. Still, it's a strong set-up: Merle's protege, a rakish copper named Copper, is the common-law husband of Joss Parker, the Texas Guinan of London, proprietress of the swank Golden Caff. When Joss is revealed to be in debt to a mobster, Copper's career is in jeopardy; then the mobster dies (natural causes?), followed by the knifing of Joss herself. Copper's the suspect, of course, and Capricorn must clear him--and figure out an intertwined goldcoin smuggling case as well. Happily, Merle's support team includes his deliciously dour housekeeper, his madcap (or just plain mad) TV-personality aunts, an ethical crook-informer, and the other sorts of vivid, brassy folk who populate Winslow's lightly stylized England. Good show, but not better or best.

Pub Date: June 21st, 1978
Publisher: St. Martin's