SLEIGHT OF HAND by Vivien Armstrong


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Imagine the shock that Francis Swayne's char gets when she discovers the dead barrister--banging from a bathroom beam--in frilly lingerie, lip rouge, and a red wig. And was the homemade bomb in the kitchen his handiwork? The meddlesome Swayne, who extricated his sister Sabina from a dicey university research project (fudged facts by the project leader, now disgraced) and bamboozled his brother and sister-in-law into letting him assume the education of their children, had also recently, on a legal technicality, gotten Irish terrorist O'Laughlin freed. Did Swayne's browbeaten family or a patriot do him in, or was it merely a nasty end to a bit of autoerotica? Special Branch noses about, as does Sergeant Judy Pullen, but it's Chief Inspector Ralph Arnott who'll sort through the disguises, the scientific folderol, the dalliances, and the politics to arrive at the right conclusion. The sort of mystery in which the clues are better handled than the characters (the Agatha Christie influence), but, still, a perfectly respectable first effort.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1992
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: St. Martin's