Shallow Grave: A Bill Slider Mystery (Inspector Bill Slider Mysteries)

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9780684837772: Shallow Grave: A Bill Slider Mystery (Inspector Bill Slider Mysteries)
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When a woman turns up dead at a famous historian's home, Detective Bill Slider arrives on the scene to unravel the case, and possibly clear an innocent man of the crime

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Review:

If classical music always seems to be playing in the background of Cynthia Harrod-Eagles's intelligent and very funny books about Inspector Bill Slider, chalk it up to the fact that the London copper's live-in lady friend Joanna is a professional violinist, and many of their friends are musicians. That plus the barrage of literary puns and quips that Slider exchanges with his chief assistant, Atherton, gives the series a distinctly upscale aura.

This seventh installment begins in a setting of rare architectural beauty, an elegant old house on a private estate set amid the bustle of West London. The browbeaten daughter of a famous historian has started her day in a very unfortunate manner--by discovering a dead body in a trench about to be filled with cement. The body belongs to the wife of Eddie Andrews, the contractor scheduled to do the cementing. Naturally, Andrews becomes the chief suspect--especially when it turns out that he knew of his wife's ongoing infidelities. But this happens so early in the book that seasoned mystery readers will soon consider other suspects, including a flashy but shallow real estate agent and the crusty old historian.

Meanwhile, Slider deals with personal matters of equal weight: Atherton's shaky return to duty after having been seriously wounded, and the decision by Bill's own runaway wife to leave the man she ran off with. This could seriously affect his and girlfriend Joanna's plans for their own future. "He didn't go straight home," Harrod-Eagles writes after Slider visits his distraught wife. "He drove around a bit, not really aware of where he was going; just going, with that instinct to escape the emotional scene that throughout history had made men leave home, fleeing their mother's pain, their wife's, their children's, going to the Crusades, to war, to the Colonies, the Antarctic, the Moon, the pub...."

Other Slider books in paperback: Killing Time, Death to Go, and Grave Music. --Dick Adler

From Kirkus Reviews:

Seventh in the chronicle of Inspector Bill Sliders triumphs and failures in Londons Shepherds Bush precinct (Killing Time, 1998, etc.). This time, the story takes us to the old Mimpress estate, where aged, ailing historian Cyril Dacre lives with his widowed daughter, Frances Hammond. Its Frances who discovers, on their terrace, in a trench being dug by builder Eddie Andrews, the body of Eddies wife Jennifer. Slider and sidekick Detective Sergeant Atherton, quickly on the scene, are pretty sure Eddie is the killer, knowing Jennifer was a bold-mannered tease and Eddie often half-crazed with jealousy and drink. But matters turn more complex as the investigation proceeds and other motives surface. For one, theres the ongoing affair Jennifer was having with her married boss, David Meacher, just as he was winding down a relationship with Liz Merryman, manager of his real estate office. There are also echoes here for Slider of his own loving affair with violinist Joanna while his wife Irene balks at divorce. Meantime, eyewitness reports have to be sifted throughuntil, finally, Slider zeroes in on an unexpected killer with a motive to match. Complex and sophisticated. Slider leaves no stone unturnedsometimes to a monotonous degree, and the same could be said of his and Athertons penchant for self-analysis. But the puzzle and the people are intriguing, and the denouement compelling, making another winner for this outstanding writer. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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