Attorney Eric Ward is back, embroiled in a new murder mystery. The Newcastle lawyer is watching his marriage falling apart; he’s on the moral hook with the local police inspector; he’s estranged from his usual source of information, who doesn’t quite trust like he used to; and he has his hands full with his latest clients, a group of villagers opposing a toxic waste site and a rather sleazy sort who makes a living investigating people’s trash cans and selling what he finds to the highest bidder. A journalist is trying to glean information from him and offers something in return – information about the attorney who may be replacing Eric in his wife’s affections.
Swirl all that together, with a good dose of personal guilt from the previous story (The Marriage Murder), and you’ve got a good story. Add an explosion and fire at the waste site, the body nearby of the sleazy information collector, and pressure from the police to gather information, and you’ve got something better than a good story – a fast-paced suspense novel that you don’t want to put down.
The Wasteful Murder by British author Roy Lewis was originally published in Britain in 2001 as The Nightwalker and has been reissued by Joffe Books, which is republishing two of the Roy Lewis series of mystery novels. It’s a humdinger of a story, undergirded by Lewis’s own in-depth understanding of general and maritime law – and the professional jealousies and rivalries that often accompanied it.
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.
I can’t recommend the Eric Ward mysteries too highly. Eleven books so far, and each one is an excellent story.