Attorney Eric Ward, a former policeman who nearly lost his eyesight to glaucoma, is helping his wealthy wife make an acquisition of a Yorkshire firm. Well, helping isn’t exactly the right word. Ward knows his wife Anne doesn’t really need his help; she’s smart enough and capable enough to manage on her own, with the help of a young acquisition advisor.
The advisor, for his part, is indeed young, but he’s gained something of a reputation as an up-and-comer. He’s also engaged to a beautiful woman, who doesn’t seem as taken with the advisor as he is with her.
Ward is pulled into a hostile takeover defense (this is the 1980s, when such events were almost routine) as a compliance officer. The chairman of his investment banking firm is also part of the defense team, and a rather unorthodox strategy is put into effect. Ward suspects that there’s more to the plan than he’s been told, and that the defense team is slipping into a gray legal area at best and illegality at worst.
Then the advisor’s fiancée is brutally murdered, and the advisor is arrested. But like everything else when high finance is involved, there’s far more here than meets the eye.
The City of London Murder by British mystery writer Roy Lewis is the eighth in the Eric Ward mystery series. It’s a riveting tale of merger and acquisition, entrepreneurs slipping onto the wrong side of the legal fence, petty jealousies and rivalries, and murder.
Lewis is the author of some 60 other mysteries, novels, and short story collections. His Inspector Crow series includes A Lover Too Many, Murder in the Mine, The Woods Murder, Error of Judgment, and Murder for Money, among others. The Eric Ward series, of which The Sedleigh Hall Murder is the first (and originally published as A Certain Blindness in 1981), includes 17 novels. The Arnold Landon series is comprised of 22 novels. Lewis lives in northern England.
The Eric Ward mysteries were first published in the 1980s and are now being republished. What you don’t ger are stories heavily dependent upon computers, mobile phones, and DNA analyses. And the author cleverly weaves the ongoing relationship between Ward and his wife into a significant piece of the story.
Lewis maintains his consistently high quality of storytelling with The City of London Murder. It’s been a delight to find and read these stories from 40 years ago.