Crime books

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THIS week's releases.


BY PRISCILLA MASTERS (Allison and Busby, 18.99)

SHREWSBURY makes an attractive setting for the Martha Gunn novels, and the lady coroner's latest outing lives up to hopes and expectations, even though its content is particularly grim. The theme is the sordid deaths of young teenagers. Only Gunn's determination, together with some very nifty detection, solves a puzzle that is especially perplexing.


BY PHILIP KERR (Quercus, 12.99)

POSTWAR Munich, and Philip Kerr's private eye, Bernie Gunther, gets mixed up in some post-Nazi mysteries and, after plodding investigation, suddenly finds that all he's been doing has been pre-planned by others, and that he now needs to start again. Which he does, in a very clever story.


BY MARTIN O'BRIEN (Headline, 11.99)

PLAYERS in a classic French rugby team, attending a reunion on the C'te d'Azur, are dying, apparent suicides. Chief Inspector Daniel Jacquot, who scored the team's spectacular winning try against England, suspecting murder, investigates, at danger to his own life. Track down the character unnecessary to the plot and you can outguess Jacquot. There is a sensational denouement, but the book is worth it just for the gourmet food descriptions.


BY MARTIN CRUZ SMITH (Macmillan, 17.99)

SENIOR Investigator Arkady Renko, who first appeared in the celebrated Gorky Park, makes a welcome return, after reports that Stalin's ghost has been seen on the Moscow subway. Renko is lucky to survive his inquiries, since at almost every turn near-successful attempts are made to kill him. This book is at once an atmospheric description of the Russian capital, a return to the events of the Second World War and, most importantly, a marvellous thriller with a splendid crime-puzzle dnouement.

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