26 May 2012

Review: CHELSEA MANSIONS, Barry Maitland

  • Format: Kindle (Amazon)
  • File Size: 646 KB
  • Publisher: Allen & Unwin (July 27, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005A0P9S8
  • Source: I bought it
  • #11 in the Brock and Kolla series
Synopsis (Amazon)

When Nancy Haynes, an elderly American tourist, is brutally murdered in a seemingly senseless attack after visiting the Chelsea Flower Show, DI Kathy Kolla suspects there is more to the case than first appears. When another occupant of the palatial Chelsea Mansions is murdered hot on the heels of the first - but this time a Russian oligarch - everybody wants to get involved.

Is it a Litvinenko-style KGB assassination? The spooks muscling in certainly think so. Are the murders linked? Or is Nancy's death just the result of mistaken identity? Kathy is determined to dig deeper, but comes up against walls of silence. If she persists, does she risk her career - and possibly more? DCI Brock, meanwhile, faces the fight of his life as his past comes back to haunt him.

A crime long buried, a deadly African virus, and some of the most resourceful criminals Brock and Kolla have ever faced, conspire to make this Maitland's best mystery yet.

My take

A worthwhile read, #11 in Maitland's long standing Brock & Kolla series, the first published in 1994.
DCI Brock and DI Kolla have been together through so many cases that they have developed a very close relationship despite the difference in their ages.

I have included this in my lists for both the 2012 Aussie author challenge and the 2012 British reading challenge, because although Barry Maitland is Australian by adoption/residence, by setting and construct these books are British police procedurals. Fantastic Fiction lists him as a Scottish author.
There's plenty in CHELSEA MANSIONS to keep the grey cells working. The hook is the unexpected murder of an elderly American tourist walking back to her hotel from the Chelsea Flower Show. The murder of a Russian billionaire who is living in the same buildings a matter of days later seems to point to a connection between the two.

Enter the fickle finger of fate when DCI Brock contracts the deadly Marburgh virus and Kathy Kolla has to lead the team. And just who is the young Canadian who turns up at Chelsea Mansions? As the story unfolds and mysteries are resolved one by one, there are some plot points that strain credibility just a bit, but that really didn't matter to me.

There are a number of connecting threads between CHELSEA MANSIONS and SPIDER TRAP, but that shouldn't prevent you from reading this if it is your first book by Barry Maitland. I think this one will send you looking for earlier titles. And there are plenty of openings for a sequel to this one.

My rating: 4.8

Other reviews of Barry Maitland books on MiP
BRIGHT AIR (2008) - stand alone.
Mini reviews of ALL MY ENEMIES (1996), NO TRACE (2006), and SPIDER TRAP (2007).

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