Friday, September 13, 2013

Quirky Debut Mystery Series, British: Anne Cleeland, MURDER IN THRALL

Anne Cleeland has three new books in publication in 2013, and I'm an ardent fan of MURDER IN THRALL, the first of a modern-day Scotland Yard series featuring two gifted detectives: Chief Inspector Michael Sinclair, whose reputation makes him a star on the force, and first-year detective Kathleen Doyle, dreading that her abrupt Irish ways and habits are likely to have her sent "back to CID headquarters to submit to yet another session of retraining in basic protocol."

Yet Doyle's strong intuitive skills make her a very good partner for the Chief Inspector, whose emotional life is far more straight-laced -- at least on the surface. As the book opens, the unlikely pair are tracking a possible informant in hopes of breaking open a murder case. Money laundering, a syndicate, Home Office involvement ... this case could make careers leap forward. "If she didn't get the sack, that was," Doyle reflects while trying to ignore her freezing toes.

The young detective's care and determination, her willingness to view taped footage, beg for forensics results, pursue interviews -- all these are in her favor. But there are quirks in the case right away: Someone's killing off witnesses before Doyle and Sinclair can reach them, and seems to have an eye on the investigation from way to close an angle. And it's clear from segments that Cleeland tucks into her chapter openings that there's a man who's obsessed with a woman involved in the case.

This book is so darned good, and the twists among investigators and case are so unexpected and delicious, that I've actually got to stop right there, for fear of giving away one of Cleeland's unexpected but wonderful maneuvers. So I'll just add: Scotland Yard, Irish heritage, class issues, male/female dynamics, and ... how can you tell the difference between the criminals and those who've wrapped their life around understanding their thinking?

Cleeland's series should be a winner in many ways; here's a chance to catch the first book and ride the wave with this strikingly good author (an attorney and court researcher from California) as she opens a partnership in crime-solving that will surely be both memorable and highly entertaining. AUthor website and sample here:

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