Rowson, Pauline - 'Shroud of Evil'
Detective Inspector Andy Horton of Portsmouth CID is asked to investigate the disappearance of a private investigator named Jasper Kenton. Kenton's car has been found and his flat seems empty. Eventually, the body of the missing detective is located on a private beach belonging to Lord Richard Eames, whom Horton has had dealings with in the past. Horton feels under pressure from his immediate superior to solve this case quickly as she has promised the partner of the dead detective her full co-operation and is leaning on Horton as a result.
Horton is somewhat of a misfit as a police detective and just does not get on with his superiors whoever they are and wants to do everything his own solitary way. He is divorced and lives on a cabin cruiser/yacht and gets around on a Harley Davidson motor cycle which means he has to wear leathers and carry a crash helmet. When his mind is not analysing the crime he is investigating, he is always considering the latest developments in his search for what happened to his mother who disappeared in 1978 and his own efforts to try to trace what may have happened to her, as he was left to be brought up by foster parents.
This book is the eleventh in the series and I have read for review three other titles in the series, enjoying them all. The story is rather complex and in the telling of it the details come out fairly slowly with in between, further thoughts by Andy about the circumstances of his childhood, his realtionship with his foster parents and his hunt for the whereabouts of his missing mother.
The author is very skilful in her steering of the plot and the red herrings that she suggests, that indicate various possible outcomes, when later in the story alternative options are outlined that shoot down these original thoughts. I must admit that I had no idea who the killer was until the end and it was a big surprise. This is a very gifted author and I have had the pleasure in reviewing three of her previous stories BLOOD ON THE SAND, FOOTSTEPS ON THE SHORE and DEATH SURGE and so knew of the high standard of her work and had no hesitation when I saw that this book was available for review. Pauline Rowson emphasises the marine aspect in her novels and the quality of her very descriptive writing is superb, with her hero Andy Horton living on a boat and is always going back and forward over the Solent in an otherwise modern police procedural. I was gripped until the last page of this very well structured and plotted story. This was the best book of hers that I have read so far. Very enjoyable and recommended.
Terry Halligan, England