Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Dark Mirror by Barry Maitland

His non-series debut Bright air was riveting, but I bet those of us who love Barry Maitland's acclaimed Brock and Kolla series couldn't wait for the pair to return to set the world - or at least their part of London - to rights.
Now they have. When beautiful, mysterious Marion Summers collapses and dies in the rarefied surrounds of the London Library, Kathy Kolla - newly promoted to Detective Inspector - and DCI David Brock are sent to head the investigation. Kathy finds a reluctant kinship with the feisty Marion, who had, like Kathy, left a difficult home life when young and struck out to London for independence. Her research on the intriguing, adulterous circle of artists, wives, lovers and muses around Victorian artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti seems irrelevant until the question of arsenic - much-used in Victorian circles - arises.
As Brock and Kolla get closer to the truth, another victim dies an excruciating death by poison in a library, and it seems a serial poisoner is on the loose.
Dark mirror is another intriguing, rewarding read by this top Australian crime writer. There are plenty of red herrings and at times the story - like the investigation - seems bogged down in the details of Marion's research, but as a fan of that artistic circle I found all this quite fascinating. I couldn't put this book down and am already looking forward to Maitland's next title.
Rating - I give this 5/5
Get this from the library
Reviewed by Jan @ Ballarat branch

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