Poisoned Pen, Feb 2004, 24.95, 268 pp.
Over fifty years in 1948, Singapore, smuggler and jewel thief Russell Pearce is shot to death in a hotel room, killed with a gun that contains the initials of his best friend Charley Hodge on it. No one was ever arrested for the crime.
In the present day, Russell's nephew Douglas goes to Canada to visit Edna Bowers who is willing to pay for Douglas to clear Charley's name and find out what happened to the Red Diamond, an eighty carat one of a kind jewel that Charley and Russell had in their possession.
Having just been fired and bored, Russell takes Edna up on her offer, hoping to see a bit of the world and find out who is uncle really was. Finding the jewel would be a bonus and he relies on clues that Edna provides to steer him in the right direction. He starts in Casablanca where it all began than follows the jewel's route to Egypt, Bahrain and finally where it ended in Singapore. All the whil, Douglas is traveling and searching, someone is shadowing his every move, someone who wants the Red Diamond.
RELATIVE DANGER is an enjoyable action thriller starring a protagonist who is ill equipped to proceed on his quest but surmounts his own naivety to follow the trail despite the dangers. Readers who liked the Indiana Jones and Lara Croft movies will find Charles Benoit's work a thrilling reading experience
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner