Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Jewelled Eye: Review

Jewelled Eye is the 22nd entry in Douglas Clark's series starring (now) Detective Chief Superintendent George Masters and his team of crack investigative officers. This time Masters has been given a highly sensitive, top-secret mission--to track down a biochemist who has disappeared with the knowledge of a scientific breakthrough that can mean so much to humanity and big bucks to anyone who can bring that knowledge to fruition. Masters has been given even more extensive powers to call upon anyone and everyone who might help bring this mission to a successful end. Joining Masters and his usual crew--Detective Chief Inspector Green and Sergeants Reed and Berger--are another Detective Chief Superintendent, a forensic medical specialist, and an ex-con army major. Masters will rely on everyone's special skills to help him discover where the missing scientist is, whether he's still alive, and how best to rescue him from an international ring of industrial spies.

One of Douglas Clark's strengths is his characters. The team that Masters gathers work well together and have quite distinct personalities that contribute to the efforts. I always enjoy watching them in action. He is also rather good at describing the setting and the situations that Masters and company find themselves in. The major drawback to this outing is the amount of time spent talking. There have always been moments in each entry to the series where the team gathers and discusses--whether they need to hash out information that is new to them or just to have a brainstorming session when they don't seem to be making much progress. But this time--fully three-quarters of the book is spent in talking with Masters filling in each and every team member on each and every detail. Then we bring in an expert to talk about the chemical side of the industrial espionage business and he goes into detail. And then, after a bit of running around looking for clues, we all sit down and go over every single detail all over again. It really was a bit much and the lack of action keeps this from being Clark's best.

This is a departure from the usual Masters and Green fare. There are no real clues to follow up and there isn't much of a chance for the reader to reach the solution before the grand finale. It is interesting to see the relationship develop between Masters and Gudgeon (the ex-con who Masters indirectly sent to prison) and Clark's way with characters and the final scenes keeps this from being a very dull book.  Just barely ★★

This will fulfill the "Crime Other Than Murder" square on the Silver Vintage Bingo card. I had not yet used this square for a bingo, so I will be transferring The Cavalier in White to the "Color in Title" square--and claiming a Bingo!


fredamans said...

I do love great character development. I might give this one a try. Great review!

Unknown said...

I love reading a long-running series where we see the characters grow and change.