Fawcett, Dec 2002, 6.99, 244 pp.
At the present time Chief Superintendent Erskine Powell of the Metropolitan Police Force of New Scotland Yard is recovering at home from a leg injury while pursuing a murderer. Bored and lonely he decides to take his college roommate up on his offer to do some fishing in the picaresque Hampshire village of Houghton Bridge. While there, Erskine catches some excellent trout and gets acquainted with many of the townsfolk.
A few days after his arrival, one of the nominees for the Mayfly Fishing Club, Richard Garrett, is found murdered. Even though he is completely out of his jurisdiction, Erskine can't help but do some independent investigating and learns that the villagers think the victim got what he deserved. It is generally believed that Richard got a local girl pregnant and abandoned her. Erskine concludes that Maggie didn't commit suicide as is commonly believed but was murdered by the same person who killed Richard. Now he must figure out who acted so maliciously from a plethora of suspects.
Fans of British police procedurals and fishing enthusiasts will really enjoy reading MALICE DOWNSTREAM. The tone and mood of the book is very dark and gothic with the brooding protagonist behaving more like Heathcliffe. The story line flows as smoothly as the waters of the River Test where much of the action takes place and the support cast adds local color to the plot. Graham Thomas is a talented writer who deserves kudos for his portrayal of a driven individual.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner