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Plots and Errors
by Jill McGown
ISBN 0330355724 / 9780330355728 / 0-330-35572-4
Publisher Pan Books
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There's nothing cute or coy about the relationship between Jill McGown's two high-ranking British police officers--Detective Chief Inspector Lloyd (whose first name has never been mentioned) and Detective Inspector Judy Hill of the (fictional) Bartonshire cop shop. They have been together for many years, and still maintain separate residences. She is smart and ambitious, determined to succeed on her own, even though her present unplanned pregnancy might slow things down; he is supportive but secretly wishes for a more old-fashioned kind of relationship. They know each other well: she tolerates his smugness and flair for dramatic effect; he appreciates her cool logic and occasionally brilliant insights. Together, Lloyd and Hill make up one of the most interesting and believable detecting duos in current crime fiction--the kind of people you can actually imagine having dinner with.
In Plots and Errors, McGown uses that hard-earned believability to anchor a complicated story as full of plot twists and false leads as any Agatha Christie play. (She even constructs it like a play, with acts and scenes set off by appropriate quotes from Hamlet).
The book opens with the suspicious suicide of two middle-aged private detectives, Andy and Kathy Cope. A short time later, their only client, a member of the wealthy (and dysfunctional) Esterbrook family, is found murdered. It seems all the deaths are somehow connected. As we shuttle between the Esterbrook family estate in Bartonshire to a yacht anchored in Cornwall, we rely on the solid comfort of Lloyd and Hill to help us achieve closure. --Dick Adler [via]