On the beautiful island of Mallorca in the Mediterranean Sea, a phone call rudely awakens Inspector Alvarez from his siesta to inform him of the death of Señor Picare. He finds Picare's household in chaos: his widow is unconscious in the bedroom, and the housekeeper is trying to comfort the young maid while dealing with the police. It doesn't take long for Alvarez to discover that Picare was an expert in promising young women more than he intended to deliver, and this means the suspect list is filled with many husbands and fathers.
Beginning with the thirty-seventh book in a long-running series can be a bit tricky, but I wanted to read something set on Mallorca, so I picked up the latest Inspector Alvarez mystery by Roderic Jeffries. At first I did feel a bit off balance because I was missing the introductions to the characters and setting, but that swiftly passed-- especially with the brilliant opening conversation between two rich, insufferable, razor-tongued gossips.
Inspector Alvarez quickly proved himself to be the type of investigator who knows how to deal with a supremely difficult superior while still conducting his business his way. Being new to Alvarez's deductive style, at first I thought it was much too repetitive. Inspector Alvarez's thought processes aren't served up on a platter for the reader either. You get to see what he does, and you get to see what he tells his boss, and that's it. But that's the charm of this book: you see what the inspector sees, and it's up to you to put things together at the same time as Alvarez. When everything starts clicking together, the reason for the investigative repetition becomes clear, and your appreciation of Alvarez-- and for Roderic Jeffries' skill-- grows. After enjoying In Search of Murder, I'm thinking that I should savor a few of Alvarez's earlier cases!
In Search of Murder by Roderic Jeffries
Severn House Publishers © 2014
Hardcover, 192 pages
Police Procedural, #37 Inspector Alvarez mystery
Source: Net Galley