Irrepressible Inspector Enrique Alvarez returns in another entertaining adventure set in sun-drenched, laidback Majorca. He's enjoying an after-lunch nip of his favorite cognac when he receives a summons to the home of British expatriate Senor Sterne, who has been found slumped over the wheel of his car, apparently a suicide. An easy, open-and-shut case, thinks Alvarez. But the medical officer declares Sterne didn't die by his own hand--bad news for Alvarez, who now has a murder to investigate. While Alvarez's boss, Superior Chief Salas, demands results right away, Alvarez knows this will be a challenging case. Sterne wasn't well-liked, even by his own family, and he was a known womanizer, so there are plenty of potential suspects. In his usual plodding, dogged way, Alvarez investigates every lead, a time-consuming task that leaves little time for his favorite occupations of eating, sleeping, and drinking cognac. With Jeffries' usual solid plotting, whimsical and engaging characters, understated humor, and relaxed style, the latest Inspector Alvarez book is another winner in a thoroughly enjoyable series. --Booklist, June 1, 2011
At the start of this easygoing entry in Jeffries's long-running Inspector Alvarez series (A Question of Motive, etc.), a phone call from Tomeu, a colleague in the Mallorcan police department, interrupts the inspector's reveries about the delicious supper his housekeeper, Dolores, will have waiting for him at home. Tomeu asks Alvarez to investigate the apparent suicide of a wealthy Englishman, "Señor Sterne," found slumped over the wheel of his Jaguar in the garage of C'an Mortex, his seaside mansion. At C'an Mortex, the inspector examines Sterne's body and, bolstered by a doctor's inconclusive postmortem, speculates that someone frightened Sterne to death. Alvarez must deal with the victim's abusive grown children, the taunts of Superior Chief Salas, and C'an Mortex's reticent household staff as he muddles his way toward a solution. While newcomers may find the insultladen banter wearisome, established fans should be satisfied. -- Publishers Weekly, June 20, 2011
Would an experienced roué really kill himself? Every evening, Inspector Alvarez, of the Cuerpo General de Policia, enjoys a ration of cognac with just a little ice. Tonight, however, this pleasure is delayed by a call alerting him to the demise of Senor Sterne, a wealthy Englishman who apparently died of monoxide poisoning in his car in his garage. But the coroner, disagreeing, says it's not suicide but murder, brought on by extreme fear. Who wanted the philanderer dead? The suspects include his ex-wife, now seriously ill; their adult children, Alec and Caroline, named as his insurance beneficiaries; Cecilia, a former paramour who said she was promised a painting worth 35,000 euros; and several cuckolded husbands smarting for revenge. Alvarez's questioning proceeds slowly. After all, his boss requires frequent updates, and his cousin Dolores demands that he start courting a divorcée, Ana, with dinners, phone calls and roses. The Sterne house staff--a general factotum and his wife the cook, their melancholy daughter Susanna and the gardener--provide clues: Senor Sterne had an argument with someone on the day of his death, and a black hatchback Citroen sped away from the premises with a skeleton dangling from its window. Alvarez cuts short a few siestas (but not lunches) and ultimately sidesteps marriage and his superior's hectoring to pour himself a glass of Soberano in commemoration of his own notion of justice. Slight to the point of transparency. But Jeffries (Sun, Sea and Murder, 2009, etc.) will have you salivating over Dolores's recipes and longing for a Majorcan cookbook. -- Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2011
About the Author
Roderic Jeffries was born in London in 1926 and was educated at Southampton's School of Navigation. In 1943 he went to sea with the New Zealand Shipping Company and returned to England in 1949 where he was subsequently called to the Bar. He practiced law for a brief period before starting to write full time. His books have been published in many different countries and have been adapted for film, television, and radio. He and his wife live in Mallorca, and have two children.