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 The image of Edinburgh's citizenry as straitlaced gets a drubbing in Detective Chief Inspector David Fyfe's newest case (Sleeping Dogs, 1995, etc). It begins with the discovery of the strangled body of Laura Lambert, found dramatically draped on a rock in Loch Maree in the Highlands. Back at Laura's lakeside cottage, Inspector Moya McBain and Fyfe (called in by Superintendent Mark Ryder to help McBain with her first murder case) find another corpse--this one hanging from the rafters but not a suicide. The victim is soon identified as Ron Gilchrist, owner of Ethereal, an Edinburgh-based magazine for which Laura, a psychic and seer, wrote a popular column as the Princess of Prophecy. The mag's editor is alcoholic Eddie Illingworth, whose sister Norma really runs Ethereal. Laura was estranged from her lawyer husband Simon Wright, who's not only deep in an affair with married Janet Dunbar but who also stands to gain a fortune from Laura's life insurance. She had been living with her father Douglas Lambert, an undertaker. He and Ron Gilchrist's wife Pat have been discreet lovers for years. There's more--much more--as McBain and Fyfe struggle to contain their own mutual attraction (something in the Highland air?) and to unlock the key to the puzzle: Who wrote the note found in Laura's clenched fist? The mordant, melodramatic solution reflects a story full of unexpected twists and turns--calculated to hold the reader's interest and, for the most part, succeeding. Different and diverting.

Pub Date: May 15th, 1996
ISBN: 0-312-14418-0
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1996


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