Thursday, March 21, 2019

"Black & Blue" by Emma Jameson

One thing you can say about the Lord and Lady Hetheridge mystery series by Emma Jameson is that they are never dull. Things happen. Lots of things. On almost every page. 

Black & Blue, the fourth in the series, starts with a murder of an art dealer, who lives right around the corner from the Hetheridges in London’s Mayfair. Lord Hetheridge is Chief Superitendent Anthony Hetheridge of Scotland Yard, aka the ninth Baron of Wellegrave. Lady Hetheridge is the former Kate Wakefield, a detective sergeant woeking with Hetheridge as part of the murder investigation squad. The third member of the team is Detective Sergeant Deepal Bhar, who has the unfortunate habit of always stepping into things when he shouldn’t.

The art dealer was a nasty bit of goods, irrespective of his Euston Square address. He liked poaching the married wives of well-known men who didn’t take kindly to his poaching. He liked dumping his new girlfriends almost as soon as he had them. He offended neighbors on both accounts, not to mention the awful modern art eyesore he’d turned his house into. And then there’s the drug smuggling business that the art dealing covered for. 

Emma Jameson
Right at the start of the investigation, Hetherbridge is booted from his position, or “allowed to retire.” He takes steps to set up his own private investigations business, although he’s wealthy enough not to have worry about income. Kate and Deepal find themselves reporting to a new boss – Vic Jackson, known for his alcoholism, sexual harassment, and racist comments. Except Jackson seems to have undergone a transformation.

Murder suspects abound, including the woman found in the wardrobe in the dead man’s house (supposedly looking for Narnia) and the Texas boyfriend of Bhar’s mother, who comes close to steal the show for the entire novel. She’s a great comic character. And the Hetheridges have family problems, specifically Kate’s family, her recently-released-from-the-mental-home sister and her former prostitute mother (Kate and Tony were born and reared in very different circumstances).

In addition to the Hetheridge series, Jameson has a second series of novels featuring the amateur detective Dr. Benjamin Bones. The series begins in Cornwall during World War II, and it has a companion series called “The Magic of Cornwall.” Jameson is currently working on the third Dr. Bones mystery.

So much happens in Black & Blue that you’ll feel rather breathless and checking back every few pages to make sure you caught everything that was happening. And you’ll also be highly entertained.


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