Fresh, witty and exciting, A Masculine Ending marks the debut of a sparkling new detective-story writer. Joan Smith is a graduate of Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, and the Ontario College of Education. She has taught French and English in high school and English in college. When she began writing, her interest in Jane Austen and Lord Byron led to her first choice of genre, the Regency, which she especially liked for its wit and humor.
Loretta Lawson, Joan Smith's lecturer sleuth, makes her third appearance in Don't Leave Me This Way. Thoughtful, humorous, vulnerable, full of real doubts and emotions, Loretta Lawson is one of the most fully-realized characters in crime fiction; and her milieu is thoroughly convincing. Smith is brilliant at pacing narrative, maintaining suspense while delivering the plot in a completely open-handed way. In the race to the finish, the reader is neck-and-neck with Loretta.
Loretta Lawson is spending this weekend in a borrowed flat in New York on one of the hottest weekends of the summer. She has hardly arrived in the city when she gets the first of a series of obscene phone calls, and the next day, in the Metropolitan Museum, she gets the feeling that someone is watching and following her. She tries to shrug it off, but then several disturbing incidents occur which are not easy to dimiss, and the one person who might be able to help.
April, 1986: American airplanes stationed in Britain attack Libya. Civilian casualties are heavy; world opinion is outraged.
When a woman's decomposed body is found in the aging barn of Oxford don Bridget Bennett's estate, Loretta knows her friend Bridget's shock is genuine. Unfortunately, the local constabulary are not so sure. And the tabloid press has a field day. But when the police try to identify the dead woman and any possible connection to Bridget and her devoted husband, only Bridget seems alarmed at what might surface. Loretta tries to piece the puzzle together herself-with little success.
"Dated and disappointing"
July 1997: Lebanon makes a rare appearance in the British headlines when an English woman dies in a landmine accident near the town of Nebatiyeh. The dead woman is a minor celebrity, a model with an Egyptian mother visiting the Middle East for the first time. Reporters descend on her Somerset home, linking her death with Princess Diana's high-profile campaign for a ban on landmines. When a young feature writer is sent to Beirut to write a story about Aisha's death.
The full story of Britain's nuclear weapons tests in the 1950s has only recently begun to emerge. Here, for the first time, through interviews and eye-witness accounts from men who watched the mushroom clouds drift over Australia and the Pacific Ocean, the tests are vividly recreated. Using official documents recently made public, evidence gathered by the Australian government's Royal Commission of Inquiry into the tests, and her own experience as an investigative journalist.