Bitter Lemon, Apr 14 2015, $14.95
For twenty-seven years Auckland District Commander Finbar McGrail regretted not solving the strangulation death of teenager Polly Stenson at an election-night gala in an affluent mansion. A long time ago, Finbar gave up hope that the killer in the 1987 cold case would be caught. However, a seemingly minor clue surfaces that rekindles his optimism. He assigns recently demoted for his unruly behavior and appearance (see Death on Demand) Sergeant Tito Ihaka to lead the new inquiry.
At the same a reporter insists that Tito’s father Jimmy did not die from a heart attack; but instead believes someone ordered a hit to silence the fiery union activist. Meanwhile Tito’s former police partner and at one time best friend, Johan van Roon is hired to investigate the shocking alleged sighting of a vanished VIP who disappeared in 1987. Soon the three seemingly disjointed cases merge.
The latest Tito Ihaka New Zealand police procedural (see Guerrilla Season and Inside Dope) contains three exciting mysteries. Paul Thomas uses satirical jocularity to depict the destructiveness of racism; as the always in trouble with the brass protagonist deals with bigotry from his peers and superiors in his brusque run them over manner. Fallout is another Ihaka winner.