Harry Devlin, Liverpudlian solicitor, has always had a nose for trouble. At first, he’s dismayed to find that his latest client Steven Whyatt simply wants to discuss his wife Becky’s infidelity – which doesn’t need much discussion, because he’s been recording her telephone calls. But Harry’s curiosity about the calls – stirred mainly due to the fact that he recognises, but can’t quite place, the voice of Becky’s lover – leads him to listen to more and more of the tapes. But soon the conversations lead to more than just romantic liaisons – Becky has a murderous plan in mind.
Three dead bodies are later discovered in a converted church – but who lies dead? Was this a case of a wife trying to get out of her marriage, or was it something much more sinister? And is there any chance of Harry not sticking his nose in?
Book Five in the Harry Devlin series, preceded by All The Lonely People, Suspicious Minds, I Remember You and Yesterday’s Papers. It’s a series that I’ve enjoyed immensely so you might wonder why it’s been so long since the last review of it – almost exactly a year in fact. Well, basically I lost my copy of Eve Of Destruction when moving house last June and it’s not available as an ebook, unlike the rest of the series. However, the other day when I was rummaging through boxes (we haven’t unpacked as we’re in a short term rental) I found it! And it levitated rapidly to the top of my pile.
It’s an interesting structure using the taped messages to build up to the murder. Obviously it’s not uncommon for writers to use flashbacks to fill in the background to the story but Martin Edwards has found a clever way to make this original.
As ever with Martin’s work, this is still, despite Becky’s murderous plans, a proper whodunit for the reader to play along with. There are clues, including something straight out of Ellery Queen. The grumpy armchair sleuth might consider that perhaps too much of the narrative is dedicated to making the reader look in the wrong direction but misdirection is the name of the game.
So, as ever with Martin’s books, an engrossing read with a clever mystery and characters that you care about, particularly if you’ve been following the series. Who could ask for more? Highly Recommended.
By the way, this is the only Harry Devlin novel not available as an ebook – something to do with the rights, I gather. My copy was bought by me, as you can see from the picture. £1 well spent!