A fast-moving, intricate and compelling contemporary mystery, starting with the brutal murder of a prostitute in London's West End, and uncovering a politician with feet of clay, a bent ex-policeman and a baggage handling scam at Heathrow airport.
Brock and Poole might seem mismatched in age and temperament, but their verbal sparring hides a genuine mutual respect.
This fair-to-middling police procedural from British ex-police officer Ison (Underneath the Arches, etc.) introduces world-weary and acerbic DCI Harry Brock, who likes to correct the English of Det. Sgt. Dave Poole, his long-suffering, working-class West Indian subordinate, who mutters insubordinately under his breath. The sordid murder of a London prostitute, Monica Purvis, inevitably involves a government official who must be dealt with tactfully. He is, of course, a sleaze. And there's a roster of lowlifes who are up to all kinds of nasty things. Incidentally, Monica was a convent girl as well as a nymphomaniac who kept a whip and handcuffs for special customers. DCI Brock tsks-tsks throughout one knows that at the back of his disapproving mind is the thought that hismother would never do "that" in a million years. Brock and Poole generate little chemistry between them, nor is the case they investigate especially gripping. A few more corpses turn up but fail to add to the suspense. The policemen's inquiries lead them in circles, and eventually they arrest a suspect even they're unsure is guilty of the first victim's murder. Some American readers may find more annoying than not the unfamiliar British terms and slang ("The inspector stood up and tugged at his woolly-pully"; "I should coco"). Nonetheless, Anglophilic crime fans will appreciate the novel's air of authenticity. FYI:The author spent 30 years as an officer in Scotland Yard's Special Branch and four years at 10 Downing St. as Protection Officer to prime ministers Harold Wilson and Edward Heath.