Friday, October 8, 2010

Target of Suspicion

Target of Suspicion by John Buxton Hilton

Synopsis: Inspector Kenworthy is on holiday--but an inspector's work is never done. he can't help but get involved when a quiet, inoffensive fellow wanders into the midst of gunfire at an army battle range, causing a soldier's death. What's puzzling is that the man's been caught trespassing there before...and he flatly refuses to tell why. But finding out whay has always been Kenworthy's talent--and holiday or not, he won't rest until he learns the truth.

This has got to be one of the most unsuccessful of the Kenworthy stories that I've read. I would normally give high marks to this interesting British police procedural series. But this one has earned two stars out of five. I can well believe Kenworthy getting sucked into a case while on holiday (it seems that British police officers never get to have an uninterrupted holiday in mystery novel land). But I don't buy him making his wife an equal partner in the proceedings. Yet that's exactly what he does. All works well as she gains the confidence of the wandering fellow and another important witness...until she decides she's been told one secret too many; one that she can't share with her husband.

Not to mention that the chaos in the closing chapters of the book is a bit much. We have the stereotypical representation of the army making Kenworthy's job even harder than it is. Let's just take a tank and totally destroy the evidence when we might have used a smaller bit of equipment.....Then there's the evidence itself and the motives behind the whole thing. I'm sorry, but I'm not convinced--particularly not convinced of the reasons for Kenworthy's wife suddenly pulling out of the partnership and refusing to tell him what she's learned. Why the heck does it make any difference whether she tells him or not, when he goes off and finds the answer himself (as she knows he will) within 24 hours? And the evidence that's being covered up? Maybe it would have meant something in the 1930s (where the story has its roots), but in the 1970s (the current time)? C'mon.

Overall, an unsatisfying read. Especially when I was looking forward to a nice little mystery break before I dive back into the remaining classics that I need to read for two of my challenges. Hopefully, the next Kenworthy mystery I pick up wil be back up to standard.

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