When philanthropist Hugo Fletcher’s dead body is discovered tied to a bed in his London home, Chief Inspector Tom Douglas determines right away that he’s hunting a female killer. Though Fletcher made countless enemies through his work with Eastern European prostitutes, the crime scene reeks of sex and revenge. This murder was personal. Douglas knows Fletcher’s unhappy wife, Laura, should be his prime suspect. She’s definitely hiding something. Something big. But he isn’t convinced it’s murder. Besides, she’s not the only woman with a motive to kill the manipulative billionaire. So he digs deeper, into a tangled web of secrets and lies, unraveling the sordid life Fletcher lived outside of the media spotlight.
What he uncovers is shocking, forcing the veteran cop to ask himself: With a man like Fletcher, should the guilty be punished? Or should the innocent be protected?
©2013 Rachel Abbott (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
I like mysteries (particularly British ones, historical fiction and nonfiction, science fiction and fantasy.
I thought this book was supposed to be a police procedural based on the description and ended up disappointed. I should have read more of the Amazon reviews.
The set up is interesting. A wealthy philanthropist is found naked, tied to a bed with silk scarves, and dead. It is not unknown for this sort of thing to happen in London from time to time. The body is discovered by the cleaner who calls in the police and an investigation into the family, employees, and associates of the dead man begins.
I bought the Kindle version and the whispersynced Audible version. The narrator Sarah Coomes was above average, but I shortly gave up on listening to the Audible version so I could skim the long (and I thought uninteresting) letters that give the back story of Sir Hugo's marriage. The characters of the people investigating the murder start out interesting enough, but it all quickly takes on a soap opera quality.
Detective Chief Inspector Tom Douglas who is in charge of the investigation is having family problems of his own, but unlike many authors who work the family lives of their detectives into their books (Cynthia Harrod-Eagles for one), Abbott just has Douglas interrupting his interrogation of a suspect to answer phone calls from his ex-wife. Douglas' habit of having personal conversations on his phone in front of his Sergeant or telling one of his chief suspects about his issues with his ex-wife are unlikely and don't add to the story. The resolution of the ex-wife issue is perfunctory.
Also when one of the suspects was being questioned about accepting money under the table I kept waiting for someone to threaten the suspect with tax consequences, but it never happened.
I knew in a short period of time whodunnit. I also guessed fairly quickly why it was done. And the domestic issues of the characters weren't interesting enough to keep me absorbed as the rest of the story unrolled.
I was surprised at Sir Hugo having trouble finding partners who enjoyed his rather mild sexual fetishes. In fact, except for the bits revealed about his background here and there, I wondered what all the fuss was about. (Now the MI6 spy discovered naked zipped and padlocked in a North Face duffle bag in his bathtub had an interesting fetish--provided the London Metropolitan Police are correct, that he did it to himself.)
In short not a horrid book, but not to my taste either.
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Disappointment and frustration! I got tired of waiting for something to happen. When it finally did, it was over in two pages.
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