St. Martin's, Nov 2002, 22.95, 224 pp.
Off the coast of the Spanish Island of Mallorca, former British cabinet minister Keith Vickers, known for his womanizing and running businesses into bankruptcy, goes sailing. Not long afterward, observers notice Keith's cruiser Valhalla, drifting and subsequently with no one on board.
Soon the mystery of the missing Keith is solved when his body washes ashore, an obvious victim of murder. Inspector Enrique Alvarez investigates, but runs into walls that would deter a less dedicated cop. He follows up on information provided by Keith's housekeeper that her employer and an unknown British official argued. Alvarez questions visiting Brit George Lovell who refuses to cooperate and formally complains to the inspector's superior Chief Sala. Though he loses a few pounds of flesh when Sala rips him for being an idiot and is threatened by Lovell's bodyguard companion, Alvarez continues placing pressure on the visitor as well as other prime suspects.
The who-done-it is fine, but as usual with the Inspector Alvarez novels, the book belong to the stoic, courageous, but beleaguered hero. Alvarez is henpecked by his sister and skinned alive by his boss. The murder mystery is fun and Alvarez's methodical investigation is cleverly designed, as Roderic Jeffries writes an artful police procedural.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner