Friday, March 7, 2014

Death Bed by Leigh Russell

Someone is stalking women on the streets of London.  Two women have gone missing with their bodies showing up days later, battered and mutilated.  The killer is taking teeth and amputating limbs post-mortem, to what purpose no one knows.  The police pull out all the stops in their investigation, but are not getting anywhere fast.  Public sentiment is rising since the two victims who have been found are both minorities and there is a question of police prejudice.  Even worse, the evidence recovered with the bodies suggest that there could still be other victims who have not been found.

Into this environment comes Detective Inspector Geraldine Steel.  Steel has been in the police force for years, but has been posted in a more rural area.  Now she has been transferred to London, and this case is her first opportunity to either shine or fail.  She has a new sargent, Sam Haley, a vivacious woman who keeps Geraldine in the know about the local team and its gossip.  She also has a new supervisor, one that she's not sure she trusts.  She feels he will take the credit if the investigation is successful and use Geraldine's London inexperience as the scapegoat if it fails.

The victims seem to not have much in common.  Jessica Palmer is a child of the streets, poor and working in a massage parlor.  Donna Henry is wealthy and cultured.  Yet both have fallen prey to the killer.  Steel determines that the common factor is that both were taken outside pubs after a night of too much indulgence, snatched off the street while making their way home.  Can she find the killer before more women go missing?

This is the fourth novel in the Geraldine Steel series, although the first where she strikes out on her own rather than being paired with her prior partner, Ian Peterson.  Readers will find the novel interesting in its inside view of a police investigation and how the personalities of those investigating a crime impact the success of the job.  This book is recommended for mystery readers. 

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