Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Review: DARK MIRROR - Barry Maitland

Marion Summers, a university student dies one day in a library. When an autopsy reveals she died from arsenic poisoning DI Kathy Kolla and DCI David Brock are called in.

Marion's life is a mystery. No one seems to know her well at all. She has moved from her last known address and none of the people the detectives talk to seem to know where she went.

Marion was doing research into the lives of the pre-Raphaelites in which arsenic figured quite heavily. Before they can find out who murdered Marion, Brock and Kolla have to first find out about the woman herself, which proves no easy task.

DARK MIRROR is a first rate police procedural. The author plays fair with the reader. The clues are all there, it's up to you to sort out which are red herrings and which are genuine. He also strikes a nice balanace between the private lives of the characters and their work.

A good police procedural is one of my favourite types of books. If it's done properly it keeps you reading compulsively to find out if your theory is correct. I did manage to figure it out in the end, but not before I ran trough a number of suspects and changed my mind several times.

If police procedurals are you thing then DARK MIRROR is one you should have on your bookshelf.

DARK MIRROR is the tenth book in the Brock and Kolla series.


Margot Kinberg said...

Thanks for this fine review, Sunnie. I enjoy a good police procedural, too. You made an interesting point, too about the clues all being there if one looks for them. For me, that's one thing that makes for a good novel. It's important to me that the clues be there, even if I don't put them together the first time I read a book.

Dorte H said...

This one sounds really good. I like a varied reading diet, but police procedurals are the very best!