This book is the 7th in Catherine Aird's 'Inspector C. D. Sloan' series, and was originally published in 1979. My husband and I both enjoyed these ingenious British mysteries starring Inspector C.D. Sloan and his clueless side-kick, Detective-Constable Crosby, and I was happy to see them come out on Kindle so I could read them all over again.
The author steers into what had been Michael Innes and Edmund Crispin territory, in that "Parting Breath" takes place at a University bearing a strong resemblance to 'Oxbridge.' There is a full cast of eccentric professors and students, although we are three short by mystery's end. The action begins with a sit-down by a group of student-activists. Sloan and Crosby are brought on campus when a student's room is trashed, and as they are walking across campus after dark, Crosby spots what he thinks are two ghosts:
"Detective Inspector Sloan sighed. Far from being a young hopeful, Detective Constable Crosby was not even the brightest of the bright and it was house policy down at the Police Station to try to keep him on the less vital jobs. Then Sloan, too, caught sight of two figures dressed from head to foot in white flitting past the fluted columns of the opposite side of the quadrangle."
Then a student who was crossing almost the same patch of campus as the two policeman makes a more terrifying discovery: a young man stabbed through the heart, whose parting words to her are "twenty-six minutes."
These Calleshire Chronicles have been labelled 'cozies' by some reviewers, but I find them a bit too edgy to easily fit into the 'cozy' category. Catherine Aird's humor has many hidden barbs. I'd classify her Inspector Sloan books as police procedurals, with interesting dollops (in this book, at least) of campus life in not-so-cozy postwar England.
- Hardcover: 186 pages
- Publisher: Doubleday (1 June 1978)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0385135637
- ISBN-13: 978-0385135634
- Package Dimensions: 21.3 x 14.2 x 2.3 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 318 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item