Allison and Busby. This edition published April, 2007
Reviewed by Sunnie Gill
On the night of a bad storm, farmer Ned Barton goes outside to investigate
a banging barn door. What he finds horrifies him: the naked body of a
woman lying on hay bales in a sacrificial pose. She is the wife of the
owner of the farm. Police go to the house to break the dreadful news and
discover the bodies of her husband and two little girls. At first it's
believed that the family of four is wiped out, but one of the girls isn't
a family member. Their sixteen-year old son Daniel is missing.
Superintendent Mike Yeadings has to piece together what has happened. The
first question that needs answering is the whereabouts of Daniel. Is he
responsible for this carnage? Or is he out there somewhere, perhaps dead
or injured. They make contact with the only relative, Daniel's maternal
grandmother, Anna Plumley.
Anna is a retired air-force officer, a practical, no-nonsense woman.
Naturally she is one of the suspects but Detective Sergeant Rosemary
Zynzynski (known as "Z" - it's easier than buying a vowel!) finds it
difficult to believe she can be responsible. Anna is estranged from her
murdered daughter. Jennifer always was a wild child and Anna has long
since despaired of her.
THE EDGE has all the hallmarks of a police procedural. We have a ranking
officer who co-ordinates the investigation and assigns officers to follow
leads. The team, consisting of "Z", Detective Sergeant Beaumont and the
dyspeptic acting Detective Chief Inspector Salmon all have their own
distinct personalities. Where it does differ from most novels of this
genre is the involvement of one of the suspects, Anna Plumley. Anna's
career has equipped her well for a police investigation and she is able to
provide history and insights into the family that may assist in finding
the identity of the killer or killers. Of course there is the ever-present
question. Is Anna all she appears to be and is her apparent desire to help
hiding a darker motive?
An author doesn't successfully write twenty books in a series without
getting a few things right. THE EDGE presents the crime, lines up some
suspects and then adds red-herrings and dead ends to the mix. Along the
way suspects are eliminated and new ones emerge as the police try to
fathom out exactly what has happened. In short, THE EDGE is in many ways
classic crime fiction. I hadn't read anything written by Clare Curzon
before and I won't hesitate to read more.
As well as the twenty Mike Yeadings books, Clare Curzon has also written
about twenty other novels, some under pseudonyms.
Oct 2007 review originally published on Murder and Mayhem
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