DEATHTRAP by Peter Turnbull
Severn House, 2000
The young man's death is an obvious suicide, except a few things don't add up. Detective Chief Inspector George Hennessey begins what looks to be a token investigation and begins to uncover layer after layer of complexity leading back to a murder that took place eighteen years earlier.
Hennessey is a sympathetic character nearing retirement age, yet still anxious to get to the truth. The truth, in this case, appears to be that a woman was falsely convicted of murder--and that someone is killing to prevent any further investigation. Yet if the woman convicted of murder isn't the real killer, who is? The obvious candidate has a perfect alibi for both the initial murder and for the subsequent deaths of anyone probing the case.
This very English mystery combines some of the gritty street-sense of Bill James (see for example, our review of The Detective is Dead with the cozy approach of Agatha Christie. Author Peter Turnbull's style is straightforward and compelling. American readers will find the British atmosphere just different enough to be intriguing as Hennessey and his partner are often invited in for a cup of tea (imagine this in an American mystery or, odder yet, in an American home). DEATHTRAP is a fine mystery that will grow on you as you read it and stick with you when you're done.
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