Tangled Web UK Review September 2000
Road Kill by
hbk out June 00
Published by Hodder & Stoughton
Another story featuring Dido Hoare, a lady antiquarian bookseller of North London, who has the knack of getting into trouble. She has an infant son Ben and an ex-Oxford professor father, who keep her company throughout the yarn - I must have missed the reason for her single parenthood, but anyway, her nanny is the route into trouble in this book. The said lady's husband is murdered, when it transpires that he was formerly the crooked accountant for a bullion heist years before. The plot, which takes a bit of following, concerns bent coppers and missing loot, as well as crooks returning from the Costa Brava. The story is written in the first person, which is always a challenge for a 'whodunnit' writer, as nothing can be reported outwith the knowledge of the raconteur.
The writing is excellent and the book's value depends largely on the masterly dialogue and characterisation, as I felt that the story-line rather bumped along the bottom. I enjoyed the book a page at a time, becoming rather apathetic as to where the plot was going, but the characters, especially Dido herself, were eminently un-cardboardly in their portrayal.
The dust cover was a mystery in itself, as it showed a dead crow clutching a floppy disc. The disc was featured in the yarn, but the significance of the bird eluded me!
An easy read, with really excellent word-craft.
- Author of the highly acclaimed Crowner John series set in Medieval Devon)