Wednesday, June 18, 2008

No Human Enemy-John Gardner

No Human Enemy
John Gardner
Dunne, Aug 2008, $24.95
ISBN 9780312376703

In the summer of 1944 a V-1 rocket lands in a London monastery killing several nuns. Reserve Squad police officers Tommy Livermore and Suzie Mountford investigate the tragedy. The two lovers quickly conclude that one of the victims was murdered before the assault occurred while another turns out to be a man.

Mountford and Livermore struggle to identify the victims while wondering if the rocket attack was a ploy to hide the earlier homicide. As they keep digging deeper, they soon begin to believe a plot much wider than a murder case with a diabolical coverup exists, but proof remains elusive.

The fifth Suzie Mountford WWII police procedural (see TROUBLED MIDNIGHT and DAY OF ABSOLUTION) is a terrific entry in a strong historical mystery series that with the recent death of the author may prove to be the last tale. The support cast is a bit more steroetyped than usual (I expected Peter Lorre to appear at any moment), but no one will care as the audience obtains a deep look at 1940s Londoners sacrificing for the war cause while the two cops work a case in which every clue they uncover seems to complicate and convolute the investigation. Try solving a puzzle with many pieces, none of them shaped like the outer rim and no picture. However, as good as the mystery is, 1944 London owns John Gardner’s fine WWII thriller.

Harriet Klausner