Master craftsman Lovesey (The Secret Hangman, 2007, etc.) flaunts his deviousness with a plethora of wickedly plausible suspects.
Gemma loathes her boss at the printing firm. Mr. Cartwright is so nice he’s icky. Besides, she tells her pals Rick, Jake and Jo, a new employee, Fiona, has caught his attention and may use her feminine wiles to replace Gemma. So Rick, Jake, Jo and Gemma jokingly come up with ways to kill the loathed Mr. Cartwright. When he and Fiona go missing, the mock-conspirators come in for fierce police interrogations. Then Jo stumbles on a drowned woman in Selsey, near the site where a prehistoric mammoth was found 20 years ago. Worse, she finds another drowned woman in the mill pond opposite Fiona’s house and yet another under the tarp covering Cartwright’s swimming pool. Who are these women, and why have they been killed? Because he has a record, Jake comes under police suspicion first; then Rick, who has a bit of a temper; then the first victim’s husband, a philandering professor on that mammoth dig. Jo, doing a touch of sleuthing herself, almost becomes the killer’s final drowning victim before the coppers, abetted by a sweet little old lady in a pink hat, save the day.
Lovesey makes it virtually impossible to figure out whodunit before he reveals all. Catnip for enthusiasts of the classic puzzler.