FATE WORSE THAN DEATH by Sheila Radley

FATE WORSE THAN DEATH

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Ambitious young British policeman Martin Tait, who has appeared here and there in previous cases for stolid Chief Inspector Douglas Quantrill (The Quiet Road to Death, etc.), takes center-stage this time--as he visits his rich aunt Con in the wee town of Fodderstone. . .and discovers the body of long-missing village lass Sandra Websdell, tenderly laid out in an empty cottage. Sandra, it seems, has ""literally been frightened to death""; and other evidence suggests that, prior to her demise, she was held captive in some unknown rural hide-out. So Inspector Quantrill, arriving to take charge of the case, begins searching for that hideaway--and wondering which of several loutish village types might be the psychotic kidnapper. (Virtually the entire village-pub crowd is under suspicion--because of crude lies about alibis.) Meanwhile, Martin (officially off-duty) lends a hand in the Websdell case. . .but is far more concerned about dear ailing aunt Con, who has decided--for very noble reasons--to disinherit him. And by the time Inspector Q. closes in on the pathetic culprit (obvious from the start), the greedy and shallow Martin finds himself a suspect in the death of aunt Con (who has inconveniently committed suicide). Awfully short of plot substance this time around, Radley fills things out with a belabored red herring (what the pub crowd is really up to), chunks of dark psychology, and the rather overdrawn (occasionally downright unpleasant) Martin subplot. But devotees of the modern English-village mystery will again find--if not the engrossing stuff of A Quiet Road to Death--a serviceable blend of ironic characterization, sour atmosphere, and creepy secrets.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1986
ISBN: 1934609390
Publisher: Scribners