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It’s a well written book with enough parallel plot to maintain interest. The red herrings are well distributed and the characters are a nice mix of sympathetic and nasty. My only reservation is that it ravels up too quickly. I would have preferred a clearer denouement.
A WW2 death is exposed during construction on a site where bombs had demolished the homes. Crosby is as young, disinterested and clueless as usual but still manages to say something that triggers Sloan's deductions. The Superintendent in charge is obsessing over hippies while trying to show off his intellect, while Sloan actually does the work. And Sloan seems to be quoting Shakespeare and poetry which no one catches. Some humor here and there. This was good but didn't knit together as well as the others. The Phoenix reference is nebulous.
Probably a four and a half. Different tone and ambiance but reminiscent of Agatha Christy or even more like E R Punshon and his Bobby Owen. Well-crafted and tightly woven without gaps or loose ends. Also has a deft touch of authentic detail, having been written by someone who lived in the subject time period. I didn't figure it out, right up to the very end.
I didn't enjoy my first Aird, but decided to try another based on the quality and sources of good reviews I kept coming across. I'm glad I did. This is a satisfying police procedural, with credible, engaging characters and good wartime and postwar background.
The Sloan-Crosby team is fun to watch in action, and the plot is enjoyably complicated.
The style is engaging--I especially like the gentle humor. The main inspector is perceptive and figures out the mystery without the arrogance or showiness of Sherlock Holmes. I have liked all the mysteries I've read in this series, and look forward to reading through the whole list.