by Carol Smith
Category: Crime, Mystery & Thrillers / Crime & Mysteries
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Publication date: 2 September 2002
Number of pages: 432
The cold-blooded butchery of a mother and her daughters triggers a wave of outrage in the media. Though not immediately obvious because they are so widely-spaced, this is just the latest in a series of bloody murders. It takes the patient persistence of cartographer, William Huxley, to sense a link the police have missed and slowly unravel the puzzle. Stuck at home with the two-year-old Morwenna while his high-flying wife, Edwina, plays with fire, William, the puzzle-solver, slowly assembles the pieces, aided solely by a cub reporter and the valiant cleaning lady, Mrs. P. When a prominent public figure is hacked to death, events take a sudden sharp curve for the worse. Particularly when it rapidly becomes clear that William is the next intended victim.
This is a thriller in which a series of apparently unconnected murders move closer and closer to the central character, William Huxley. William, a former cartographer, is a house-husband with a small daughter and an ambitious and unfaithful wife who is aiming to garner a fortune from the dotcom company she has co-founded. One of the killer's earliest victims was Williams's aunt-by-marriage, so he follows the newspaper reports as the murders continue, and begins to try to puzzle out a pattern of connection. His confidante is a mysterious Sicilian woman, encountered at the doctor's surgery, for whom he feels a growing passion. The tension rises when William's beloved infant daughter is kidnapped, but all ends well, and William's wife, having learned the error of her ways, moves with him out to the country to become happily pregnant, while William resumes the proper manly role of breadwinning. Revisionist politics aside, some readers may find this a dull book despite its elaborately twisting plot. It would be excellent as the outline of a movie script, but it quickly palls as a reading experience due to the paucity of its vocabulary, the inelegance of its sentence structures and the shallowness of its characters. A good story, badly told. (Kirkus UK)
Carol Smith is the author of DARKENING ECHOES, KENSINGTON COURT, DOUBLE EXPOSURE, FAMILY REUNION and UNFINISHED BUSINESS, all published by Little, Brown/Warner. She lives in Kensington, West London.
In Stock: 5 copies