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Stone Killer (Chief Inspector Woodend Mysteries) Hardcover – December 1, 2005


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Editorial Reviews

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*Starred Review* DCI Woodend normally handles murders, so when his boss sends him to Cotton Credit Bank to handle a hostage situation, the constable is puzzled. Arriving on the scene, he learns that three masked men have taken several dozen bank customers hostage; that the police have sent in marksmen in case the situation escalates; and that the main hostage taker has requested Woodend as the only copper with whom he'll negotiate. Entering the bank, Woodend confronts the masked man, who informs him that the hostages will be released if Woodend proves the innocence of Judith Maitland, who has been jailed for 25 years after being convicted of killing her lover; if Woodend hasn't proved Judith's innocence in three days, the hostages will die. With no knowledge of the case and under intense pressure, Woodend, with trusted sidekick Monika Paniatowski, sifts through clues, searching for any evidence that could prove Maitland's innocence. Spencer continues to display her mastery of the British procedural, and this one, with its tense, twisted plot, surprising conclusion, and well-drawn characters, is one of her best yet. Emily Melton
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

About the Author

Spencer was born and brought up in Cheshier. She has been a teacher in England and Iran.
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Product Details

  • Series: Chief Inspector Woodend Mysteries (Book 14)
  • Hardcover: 217 pages
  • Publisher: Severn House Publishers; 1st World Ed edition (December 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0727862944
  • ISBN-13: 978-0727862945
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,572,240 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sally Spencer is a pen name, first adopted when the author (actually called Alan Rustage) was writing sagas and it was almost obligatory that a woman's name appeared on the cover (other authors like Emma Blair and Mary Jane Staples are also men).

Before become a full-time writer, he was a teacher. In 1978-79 he was working in Iran and witnessed the fall of the Shah. He got used to having rifles - and, one occasion, a rocket launcher - pointed at him by both soldiers and revolutionaries, but he was never entirely comfortable with it.

He lived in Madrid for over twenty years, and still considers it the most interesting and exciting city he has ever visited, but for the last few years he has opted for a quieter life in the seaside town of Calpe, on the Costa Blanca.

His first series of books were historical sagas set in Cheshire (where he grew up) and London. They were very popular with his English readers, but his American readers find the dialect something of a strain.

He has written twenty books featuring DCI Woodend (a character based partly on a furniture dealer he used to play dominoes with) and ten (so far!) about Woodend's protegé Monika Paniatowski. His DI Blackstone books are set in Victorian/Edwardian London, New York and Russia, and the DI Ruiz books have as their backdrop the Spanish Civil War.

Alan is a competitive games player who likes bridge and pub quizes. It is only by enforcing iron discipline that he doesn't play video games all the time.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By RJPetyo on December 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Set in England in 1963, STONE KILLER opens with hostages being held in a bank vault. The head kidnapper, who calls himself Apollo, demands to speak to DCI Charlie Woodend. His demands for the freedom of the hostages? He wants Woodend to reopen the investigation of the murder of Clive Burroughs, for which Judith Maitland was convicted. He wants her proven innocent.

Woodend, knowing lives are at stake, agrees to investigate the case and quickly learns that things are not quite what they seem.

Sally Spencer's procedurals are always the right balance of character development and a twisting plot as the investigation goes from place to place. All the characters, from the investigators, to the suspects, to the higher-ups in the police department, to the walk-on characters are nicely drawn. I've read several of her Woodend/Paniatowski books, and even though I haven't read them in publication order, I recognize the characters as old friends and want to know about their personal problems.

The plot twists in STONE KILLER kept me guessing and ultimately satisfied. The only thing that takes this novel down a notch is the set-up. I had a hard time believing the hostage situation, both how it came about and the effect it had on Woodend and his crew. It nagged me through the whole book, even though the investigation of the Burroughs murder was the real story.

Still, another great job.
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