The Art of Betrayal
A Kate Hamilton Mystery #3
Crooked Lane Books, June 2021
Here’s a long, carefully constructed mystery that becomes more and more involving as it develops. By the time readers reach the high level action two-thirds along, the narrative has a firm grip. The questions raised beg to be answered and the relationships, particularly between the two principals, Tom and Kate, our narrator, will not let us go.
Kate Hamilton, American antiques dealer is in Suffolk, enjoying time with her new love, Detective Inspector, Tom Mallory. While he works, Kate spends time helping out in a local antique shop. When an older woman brings her a startlingly important and valuable piece of Chinese ceramic, Kate’s instincts shift abruptly to high alert.
Murder, connected to a local spring fair and to events almost twenty years in the past, rise, tangle and provide both answers and murky fog. Both Kate and Tom are soon mired in the increasingly complex case. Who is the old woman? Why was she murdered? What, if anything, does an obscure ancient Anglo-Saxon phrase have to do with the case, and why does a white lotus petal appear on the floor of the breached Antique shop?
The number of interesting and useful characters are very well managed, the pace develops slowly to a surprisingly tense climax and the author’s handling of many details is professional, accurate and satisfying. Betrayals occur in many large and small contexts in the lives of the characters, all precisely handled and satisfying. An outstanding, well-designed mystery is properly resolved and leaves the reader with pleasure at recognition of having experienced a fine piece of literature and a cracking good mystery.