I’m not sure what to say about this well-written English police procedural. Ten Guilty Men by Daniel and Sean Campbell rates pretty high (I think) on the realism scale, but left me with the sense I always got from 19th Century realistic novels: What was the purpose of this journey?
Detective Chief Inspector Morton, the main character, is a London police detective, heading a small (understaffed) team of investigators. He’s called out to a posh home filled with trash, where Ellis DeLange, a famous photographer, has been found dead, floating in her swimming pool. Cause of death is not drowning, because she has a head injury that couldn’t have been accidental. Suspicion focuses on the party attendees – Ellis’ boyfriend (a sports broadcaster), her sister, her best friend, a drug dealer, and a few others. The systematic investigation gradually reduces the suspects to two, and then passes on to an account of the murder trial, somewhat like an episode of the TV series, Law & Order.
Inspector Morton is a pretty good character. He’s generally a good boss, though he likes to pull rank, often in a joking way. Of particular interest is his relationship with a subordinate who has suffered a stroke and has trouble communicating. At first Morton treats him like a defective, but he gradually learns that the young man has good skills and instincts, and so learns to make use of his strengths.
My main problem with the book is the ending, which is unsatisfying in the extreme. This is not the kind of book where everything gets tied up neatly with a ribbon on the last pages. Of course this approach is true to the real world, but it leaves me with little incentive to continue reading the series.
Moderately recommended. I don’t recall much extremely objectionable content.
One final question remains: What’s the cover about? It has nothing to do with any part of the story.