this is the 224th in my series of forgotten or seldom read books
Death Watch by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles, Avon, 1992 paperback, police procedural – 2nd in Inspector Bill Slider, series
I reread this last Summer. I’d forgotten how much I like these very character and relationship driven police procedurals. This second in the series carries on the sub-plot from Orchestrated Death, the first in the series, of Inspector Slider’s complicated relationships with Joanna, whom he loves and wife Irene, whom he doesn’t. Also here are the other members of the force and best of all, here is another fine mystery.
Richard “Dick” Neal has been burned to death in a motel fire. Circumstances make it seem like a suicide and that would suit the bean counters who oversee the department budget; no costly investigation to conduct. But there are things not quite in keeping with that finding, things that suggest murder. Slider can’t just leave it alone.
Slider and his team have to sift through every detail of the dead man’s life looking for some clue, some motivation, even while the top brass press for a quick solution. I’m not sure how likely the final solution is, but the reader is skillfully led to it and I wasn’t disappointed. This is a good series worthy of your time.
Richard, this is one of my favorite series. When I discovered it I sought out all the books that had been published at the time (eight or nine of them). The early novels were my favorites, I have not enjoyed the most recent ones as much.
I had the paperbacks, then bought the three thick omnibus volumes, thinking I’d “save shelf space”. I wish now I hadn’t, but that’s neither here nor there. I like the firs 5 the best, but the Slider character is great throughout. The same thing – books not as good later in series – happened with John Harvey’s Charlie Resnick books.
I agree with you. I’m a big fan of the series too. Since my library doesn’t seem to get the more recent books I’ve got a couple from a friend in England and bought the more recent ones online for $3-4 each. I like Slider and Joanna and the rest of them. I have three or four on the shelf waiting to be read and I think there has been at least one newer one I need to get.
Thanks, Jeff. Now I want to reread the third one, but it seems there is always so much to read…
I confess I’ve not read any Cynthia Harrod-Eagles procedurals but I’ll remedy that fast. Sounds like my kind of series! Thanks for the heads up!
Go for it, George, but read them in order.
I seem to say I’m not familiar with this quite a lot over here. I’m really way down the line on reading straight mysteries. Maybe I need a mystery reading year!
Charles, I have some fantasy and SF reviews coming in a week or two.
I love this series, Richard. I’ve read all the books over the years and always look forward to the next. Not all of them are smasheroos though most of them are, I have to say, top notch. The first in the series was one of the best debuts I’ve ever read.
We agree, Yvette, that this is a terrific series. Slider is a really sympathetic character.
I love this series, but it really needs to be read in order. I think one of the reasons the earlier ones seem better is because the characters were being fleshed out and their various relationships with one another being stabilized (I keep waiting for Atherton and Norma to get together–perhaps they do, I haven’t read the most recent two); now there’s a sense of Harrod-Eagles going through the motions, but I do love the word play, the intentional awful puns, and the dynamics of the precinct, even if I find the mysteries sometimes a little obvious.
An excellent summation, Deb, of your (and my) thoughts on the series. I have the first 9 novels in three omnibus volumes, and I’ve not felt the need to read beyond, as much as I’ve enjoyed those books.