A TALENT FOR DESTRUCTION by Sheila Radley

A TALENT FOR DESTRUCTION

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Chief Inspector Douglas Quantrill, a moody but likable sort, returns--in another village mystery that's steady and somberly psychological. A skeleton is found in the snow; it's soon identified as that of a young Australian drifter who'd hung around the previous summer. So Quantrill starts sleuthing, immediately suspects that the Rector and his wife (a youngish, edgy couple) are hiding something--and wonders how the Australian's death was connected to: the village visit that same summer of lovely Janey Rolph, also an Australian; the autumn suicide of Michael Dade, the church organist; and the strange behavior of the Rector's semi-senile, highly hostile old father-in-law. ""What in heaven's name did go on at that Rectory last summer?"" Well, Radley then flashes back to fill in most of the summer secrets--an adultery/blackmail mess created by sexual repression and a nasty femme fatale. But only after still two more deaths, back in the present, does Quantrill understand who actually did the killing: an unsurprising revelation. Still, the atmosphere here is properly moody, the tone is serious but unpretentious, and (especially with Radley's use of the flashback to vary the viewpoint) this is sturdy entertainment in the quietly updated, English-village genre.

Pub Date: Oct. 26th, 1982
ISBN: 1934609161
Publisher: Scribners