The twelfth Inspector Lynley mystery shifts focus to his colleague, forensic scientist Simon Allcourt St. James, and particularly his wife, photographer Deborah. An old friend from her California days, China River, and her brother Cherokee serve as couriers for an expensive package bound for the English Channel island of Guernsey. They are carrying architectural plans for a museum, but the wealthy Jewish refugee who ordered them, Guy Brouard, is found dead on the beach with a stone lodged in his throat. The cast includes more than one former spouse, Brouard's elderly, sick sister, and various island neighbors and servants.
This report prepared by David Loftus
Bantam, Jul 2003, 26.95, 513 pp.
China River and her brother Cherokee tender a deal to friend photographer Deborah St. James and her spouse forensic scientist Simon. If the couple travels from their home in Montecito, California to deliver a package of architectural drawings to Guy Brouard on the English Channel Island of Guernsey, she will pay both fares and a five-thousand-dollar fee. Christmas in England sounds quite good to the St. James so they readily agree.
The drawings are for a museum that Guy plans to construct to commemorate those who resisted the Nazis during the German occupation of the island. However, upon arriving at Guernsey, Deborah and Simon find the recipient of their package dead, a victim of murder. Most interesting is the lack of a solid motive, as no one seems to hate Brouard though he womanized and no one gains from his death. Still the nosy Americans investigate when China is arrested for the crime.
PLACE OF HIDING is a superb investigative tale due to the extraordinarily powerful cast on both sides of the Atlantic. The who-done-it is cleverly devised to keep the audience guessing, but clearly the key players such as China, her brother, the St. James couple, and Brouard and his spouse make the tale work. The locale adds depth and a bit of World War II perspective to a strong contemporary mystery that by George shows the talent of this author when she is on her game as she is here.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner