Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Andrew Taylor: The Sleeping Policeman

Another one featuring William Dougal, the publishor/editor cum private investigator. He is hired by the youngish GP Hanslope to find out who is blackmailing him. Hanslope has a fiancée, a mistress (his fiancées stepmother) and a girlfriend, and does not want to turn to the police. There's a lot going on in the little community where they live - burglaries, two teenage girls who are perhaps too close to each other, a neighbourhood snoop, Hanslope's sexual escapades... Things start to escalate, and there is murder done. It's quite a well-crafted little story, all the loose ends are tied up at the end. The first chapter ends with the readers being told that the whole affair will end with a tragedy at a London tube station, and it does. Very abruptly, and then there is no more. It's quite typical of Taylor's style. I like it - it's not fantastic literature, but it's clever detective fiction, with a good, varied array of characters and a likeable and not-too-perfect hero. Sadly, they don't seem to have more at the library than the two I've read now, perhaps one or so.

I'm going to have to branch out. I was recommended Michael Faber, so he's next, and also Sarah Waters, who was not available. Fingers crossed.

Oh, and a sleeping policeman is apparently what you call a speed bump on the road. Who knew? I certainly didn't. Took me two pages to cop on, I thought there WAS a sleeping policeman somewhere.

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