Newly promoted to Detective Inspector, Kathy Kolla of the Serious Crimes Unit is called in by the forensic pathologist regarding the recent sudden death of a London student from what he's determined to be arsenic poisoning. Marion Summers had no reason to be in contact with arsenic and, though once common, arsenic is now very hard to get hold of. The more Kolla investigates, the more she discovers that certain other things about Summers are also unusual. She moved three months ago without leaving a forwarding address or informing her relatives. And her step-father has a disquieting past and, after attacking a constable in a pub, a not-so-savory present. With each turn in the investigation, it becomes increasingly clear that behind what really happened - and why - lies the most difficult-to-crack case the team has ever faced.
When Ph.D. student Marion Summers collapses and dies in the London Library in the excellent ninth entry in Maitland's series featuring Kathy Kolla, newly promoted to detective inspector, and Det. Chief Insp. David Brock (Spider Trap, etc.), everyone assumes her diabetes is to blame. But when arsenic is discovered in Summers's system, Kolla takes charge of her first investigation. As part of her thesis, Summers was researching the 19th-century avant-garde painters and poets known as the Pre-Raphaelites. Summers had recently become obsessed with poisons, particularly arsenic, and her theories concerning its role in the lives of the Pre-Raphaelites had caused tensions among her academic peers. With Brock's help, Kolla digs deeper into the young woman's life and uncovers an unsettling past and numerous suspects who may have wished her harm. Maitland crafts a suspenseful whodunit with enough twists and turns to keep even the sharpest readers on their toes. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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September 28, 2009
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