Tangled Web UK Review September 1998
File Updated: 30/03/00
Death Duties Death Duties by Phil Lovesey
pbk out March 99 (HarperCollins) at 5.99
Telling a child she shouldn't be sad because her dead daddy has gone to heaven turns into a serious mistake when the child in question grows up to believe her mission in life is to release people from their misery to join their maker.
That's the starting point for Phil Lovesey's first novel. It's bad enough that there's a killer out there who thinks she's on an errand of mercy. But when police arrest the wrong person for one of her heartless crimes, a whole new tide of bloodshed is unleashed. The only people who can stop the carnage were once police colleagues back in the 1960s. The problem is that they've since gone their separate ways. Only by coming together and reuiniting the pieces of the jigsaw each possesses is there any hope of catching a cold-blooded psychopath.
This chilling and deviously plotted debut is an idiosyncratic marriage between the traditional English police procedural and the psychological thriller. Laced with black humour and packed with credible if not always likeable characters, Death Duties signals the arrival of a quirky new writer whose undoubted talent deserves attention.

( Val McDermid - Gold Dagger winner & creator of Lindsay Gordon, Kate Brannigan & Tony Hill)