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Dead Man’s Time: The Belfast Newsletter

By James Cleary

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The murky world of high-end antiques and a raft of unsavoury chancers out for a slice of the action are the key components of likeable Detective Superintendent, Roy Grace’s, latest case.

The gruesome death of a 98-year-old lady, with £10 million worth of antiques taken from her home, is the starting point of a narrative that takes in Brighton, the Spanish south coast and New York.

The criminal connections of the lady’s wealthy brother – and his errant son – only complicate the investigation, as Grace aims to act quickly to catch those involved before somebody else gets there first.

James’s fast-paced, well-researched style, encased in short, sharp chapters, provides the required page-turning element, while the secondary elements exploring the personal lives of Grace’s work colleagues, friends and foes – in addition to his own ‘home’ issues – add welcome layers.

Less pantomime in the make-up of some of the people and places involved in the crime would have added to the believability, while some plot repetition was crying out for the editor’s delete button.

However, the plot twists, interspersed with drama and humour, will keep the reader sated.

James Cleary