The author strikes a nice balance between what the readers know and what the detectives know, which puts us in a comfortable position of smug superiority, but we still need the detectives to figure out how it all fits together.
This is a well-written police procedural, but a bit formulaic. There is a quick character sketch of each new character who is introduced, giving name, general age, one physical characteristic, one personality characteristic. There’s nothing wrong with this technique, but when it happens several times in rapid succession it draws attention to itself, at the same time producing an information overload that reduces its usefulness.
Then comes the usual hard-to-believe point where experienced officers step over the line of good policing for sentimental reasons, and get away with it because their hearts were in the right place. Late in the story, there was also an unnecessary recap of all the evidence, provided by the rather transparent device an officer on a stakeout, thinking it all through because he is bored. This is followed by a highly choreographed climax with great suspense, and then the old Poirot “reveal” at the end.
It is hard to place the readership for this novel, but the timely nature of the story, plus the avoidance of any gritty details leads me to recommend it to older Young Adults.
(4 / 5)