Newcastle-on-Tyne Attorney Eric Ward has gotten himself into a serious fix. The former-policeman-turned-attorney has just had an argument with his wife Ann, right before she leaves for a three-week business trip to Singapore. Accompanying her is her own corporate attorney, a man nearer her age and one Eric has little use for.
And now he has to attend an evening business reception, one of those boring affairs he hates. Finally getting away, he’s leaving the parking lot when an attractive woman who’d made something of a scene at the gathering flags him down; her car won’t start. and she needs a ride home. She also needs legal advice about something she says she’s gotten too deep into. Eric succumbs to her charms and finds himself in bed.
She’s asleep when he leaves, and then he realizes he can’t find his car keys. Returning to her flat, he finds the woman dead in the living room, her neck broken. He eventually realizes that it will be only a matter of time before the police find her car, learn she was at the reception, and start interviewing attendees as possible suspects. He’s right; the police are also asking for DNA samples.
One of Eric’s ne’er-do-well clients gets himself in a fix, owing a gambling debt and being framed for a burglary. And then the man is found at the scene of a murder with the interesting twist of the body being missing. Slowly, and with the help of his regular informant, Eric comes to see that the crimes are connected, leading in the direction of another client and the chairman of the board Eric serves on.
It’s messy, it’s complex, and it’s a ripping good read. First published in Britain in 2000 under the title A Form of Death, The Marriage Murder by Roy Lewis is the tenth in the Eric Ward series.
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.
It appears that Eric Ward may lose everything – his good name, his marriage, and possibly even his freedom. And that’s the mesmerizing tension point in The Marriage Murder.