St. Martin's, Jan 2003, 23.95, 256 pp.
Deputy Chief inspector Michael Thackeray has finally taken the first stops towards making a new life with his lover Laura Ackroyd. He has filed for divorce from a wife who is confined to a mental institution with no hope of recovery, and he and Laura have moved in to a flat together. Although Laura would like a child with Michael, she dare not bring the subject up since he has never recovered from the tragic death of his own son.
When a thirteen year old girl is shot and killed on the steps of the May Anderson hospital after receiving an abortion, Michael and Laura both work the case albeit from different perspectives. When a nurse who works at the hospital is also killed, the police know there's a link because the same gun killed the two victims. Using their own resources, Laura and Michael come to the same conclusion about who the killer might be, but proving it to the point of an arrest remains difficult.
Patricia Hall writes some of the best British police procedurals on the market today. Her two protagonist are very independent individuals trying to make a life together while trying to cope with the baggage of their past. The who-done-it it is intricately complex with so many blind allies that readers will want to finish the book in one sitting to learn the identity of the perpetrator.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner