Gone Tomorrow, Cynthia Harrod-Eagles, St. Martin's, $24.95.
(check for used copies at our ABE store).This is a welcome return of a series that has become a personal favorite. Frustratingly, this series is completely out of print in the U.S., except for the issue, each year, of the latest hardback. I say thank god for St. Martin's - but I wish they'd also reprint the paperback backlist of this strong series, much of whose charm comes from the personal life of it's main character, Detective Bill Slider. Recently divorced (this is explored in the first novel, Orchestrated Death), Slider lives with his musician girlfriend, Joanna. Joanna is absent for much of this book and I felt almost as glad as Slider himself when she turned up.
This book is more of a straight police procedural, as all the novels have been, though this one includes less about Slider's personal life, and more about the police work - inspired and otherwise - that leads Slider to the killer of a man found stabbed on the swings in a children's playground. The route it takes to uncover the killer is a labyrinthine, but interesting one, and Harrod-Eagles writes with such flair and humor that this is a book it's difficult to dislike.
"Even his wig seemed limp and spiritless. Normally Slider's fascinated fear was that it would go flying off with one of the old boy's rapid changes of direction, but today it seemed to huddle close to the bony pate for comfort like a dog sensing disaster." - from Gone Tomorrow
Her skill at describing the various secondary characters Slider meets along his merry way is almost Dickensian; and her love of puns and language is a delight that makes reading one of her novels pure pleasure from start to finish. If you are in the mood for a well written police procedural that includes chapter titles like "A Time to be Bald and a Time to Dye", this is the book for you.
If you enjoy Cynthia Harrod-Eagles, you may also enjoy Jill McGown, Dorothy Simpson, Catherine Aird, and Caroline Graham.
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