on December 29, 2005
It is always a pleasure to read a new Superintendent Mike Yeadling mystery novel. So far, every book (and there have been 10 installments to this series so far) can boast of possessing an intriguing plot that is well plotted, and peopled with characters that are well defined and convincingly portrayed. One has to wonder why Clare Curzon is not more of a household name in the States.
When the home of well known poet, Carlton Dellar burns down the very night that his entire extended family had gathered to celebrate his eightieth birthday, the initial thought is that the fire was an unfortunate accident. But for Kate Dellar, confusion soon turns to horror when she discovers that her daughter, Jessica, seems to be missing, as her son, Eddie (Jessica's twin), battles for his life after having been brutally assaulted on the estate grounds. As Kate begins to try and grapple with what has happened to her children, Detective Superintendent Yeadling begins his investigation into the fire: a dead body has found in the shell of the burnt down house (thought to be that of the missing Jessica's); and because the poet's younger brother happens to be Sir Matthew Dellar, one of the country's more prominent prosecuting barristers for the Crown, Yeadling has a strong suspicion that the fire may actually be a case of arson. But as the investigation progresses, Yeadling begins to wonder if Matthew was the intended target after all. The dead body turns out not to be that of Jessica's. So what has happened to Jessica and where can she have disappeared to? And who could the dead person found at the Dellar house be and what (s)he doing there?
Fond as I am of Curzon's Mike Yeadling series, I will admit that readers not familiar with the series may be feel a little let down with it, especially is they're fans of P. D. James, Elizabeth George, et al. Clare Curzon's series is more like those written by Catherine Aird: the plots are a little less intricate and have more of an intimate feel. Yet the mysteries are always very clever and intriguing and her character portrayals are very vivid and realistic. The pacing is brisk and even, thus making "Last to Leave" a very quick and riveting read. All in all, this was a very engrossing and very enjoyable read, that should not be missed.