Craig, James - 'Never Apologise, Never Explain'
In a flat, in a block of apartments immediately opposite The British Museum in Holborn, West London an elderly retired lady named Agatha Mills is savagely killed with severe blows to the head There is only one suspect, her husband, who claims he was asleep all night. Inspector John Carlyle believes the husband is guilty and takes him to Charing Cross Police Station for questioning and then later charges him with murder. However, Mr Mills takes his own life before he is put into a van to take him to prison. Carlyle is even more convinced that the death was a sign of guilt and is happy that the paperwork will be minimal, unlike some of the other casework he has.
Mr Mills believed that his wife was murdered because she had done a lot of charity work in Chile and she had been given death threats that she had brushed aside. It seems that the late Mrs Mills's brother was a Catholic priest who had been arrested during the political coup in Chile in September 1973 and he was thought to have been killed with many others. Inspector Carlyle has a lot of other cases on the go all the time that interfere in his concentration in getting to the bottom of the Mills murder as he becomes uncertain that the murderer was the husband. Further detection pinpoints other similar murders and the story moves on to it's exciting conclusion.
This new detective is very original in that he isn't an angst driven alcoholic, he seems to be happily married with a child. He doesn't drive, he seems to to either walk or use public transport to move around Central London and the West End. He seems to spend a lot of time having coffee and Danish pastries for breakfast in coffee bars and having meals all over the place as he works very long hours. The author points out that we already have had Inspector Rebus extolling the fascination of Edinburgh, Donna Leon that of Venice and many American authors describing lots of American cities so his new detective will help to promote London.
I found NEVER APOLOGISE, NEVER EXPLAIN, his second Inspector Carlyle novel, absolutely first rate, a real pleasure to read. It moves very fast with lots of swift changes of pace in the plotting and it was a real delight to read a novel set in locations that I'm familiar with. This should be a help in marketing it to readers who are either Londoners themselves or who have visited the City and are familiar with the landmark locations discussed. The very gripping storyline is not without humour but it must be mentioned that there are some scenes of a violent nature which may inhibit some readers. I look forward to reading further Inspector Carlyle stories by this very gifted new author.
Terry Halligan, England