Wednesday, February 23, 2011

An Empty Death-Laura Wilson

An Empty Death
Laura Wilson
Minotaur, Mar 15 2011, $25.99
ISBN: 9780312538118

The fifth anniversary of the war is coming soon and the British are mentally exhausted by the seemingly endless combat. This includes bone weary Scotland Yard Detective Inspector Ted Stratton who could use a respite, but knows homicide does not end due to a war although the latter complicates his investigations. His wife Jenny is also burned out working at the recovery center where a woman claims her husband is not her husband but an imposter; Jenny and staff assumes the poor female’s brain has been shattered.

In the summer of 44, Dr. Reynolds is found dead at Fitzrovia's Middlesex Hospital from a head injury. Stratton leads the inquiry though he knows the death could easily have been caused by debris from a bomb. He learns the deceased seemed to service the nurses better than his patients as several of the latter apparently died from his negligence. When others also die, Stratton knows a serial killer is on the loose, but has no clue as to who or why. Meanwhile James Dacre gets away with masquerading as a physician at the hospital

The second Reynolds WWII police procedural (see The Innocent Spy) is an exhilarating thriller that brings to life London during the war. The story line is fast-paced, but it is the cast who struggle to live with some degree of normality as their endeavors bring armchair readers to 1944 England. Although the ending is over the top of Big Ben, fans of 1940s whodunits will appreciate the aptly titled An Empty Death.

Harriet Klausner

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