Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Chelsea Mansions by Barry Maitland

Chelsea Mansions is the eleventh book in the Brock and Kolla mystery series, and now that I've read it I'm caught up. It was published a few months ago. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if it also ended up being the final (or next to final) book in the series.

When an elderly tourist is deliberately thrown in front of a bus after leaving the Chelsea Flower Show, it seems like a motiveless murder. Then a rich Russian expat is stabbed to death in the house next door to the hotel where the woman was staying. There's no obvious connection between the two, but Brock and Kathy both want to dig a little deeper and find out what's really going on. But Brock is sidelined by a bout of what seems at first to be the flu, and Kathy finds herself butting up against MI5.

The plot is only okay, certainly not one of the best plots in this series. The subplot of the nosy Canadian scholar who pushes his way into the investigation didn't do much for me. I won't spoil who he turns out to be, but let me just say that I definitely thought of Cousin Oliver being introduced on the Brady Bunch in a lame attempt to improve viewership. It didn't work for the TV show either.

I'm very glad I've caught up on the series. I'll still continue to read Maitland--and it looks like he's got another mystery out, one not part of this series, which I may chase down eventually. But I'm not all that into his books like I was at first. When I find myself thinking repeatedly, "Well, this book isn't the best in the series," it's not the individual book, it's the whole series.

B&N link

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