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Death of a Hollow Man

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Death of a Hollow Man (1989) Caroline Graham (Chief Inspector Barnaby)

Death of a Hollow ManInspector Barnaby’s wife belongs to the local theater group, so we start during the early rehearsals, and interestingly (for a police procedural) the murder doesn’t happen until opening night (about 40% into the book). So not only do you have to figure out who dunnit, you also spend the first part of the book wondering just who is going to be murdered.

That said, if you ever doubt that the world has changed, read a police procedural written in the 1980s.

The sergeant liked men to be men and women to be glad of it. Here was a pair he couldn’t place at all. He always boasted he could tell a faggot a mile off, but he wasn’t at all sure about this particular combo.

To be clear, the gay characters are written no less kindly as any of the other suspects, but Sergeant Troy feels it is his right to constantly disparage them.

After showing in Tim and Avery, Troy pointedly moved his chair several feet away. Then he sat, legs protectively crossed, giving off waves of masochistic fervor, his breathing ostentatiously shallow. One might have thought the air to be thick with potentially effeminate spores, a careless gulp of which might transform him from a sand-kicker supreme to a giggling, girlish wreck.

One of the characters I especially liked in this story was Deidre.

She had been brought up to believe that you never spoke ill of the dead. As a child, she had assumed that this was because, given half a chance, the dead would come back and savage you. Later she modified this apprehension to include the understanding that (a) if you only said nice things about them, they might put in a good word for you when your turn came, and (b) it just wasn’t honorable to attack people who couldn’t answer back.

Theoretically, you see she is a suspect, but there is simply no way you could actually believe it of her.

Publisher: Felony & Mayhem Press
Rating: 7/10

Categories: 7/10, British, eBook, Mystery, Police, Reread
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