Murder, London--New York (1958) by John Creasey
Margaret Roy, a beautiful young woman connected to the art world, is killed--her beauty ruined by the vicious, slashing attack. She and her cousins owned a gallery and business that shipped "old world" art to America. "Handsome" Roger West is assigned to the case and soon finds himself in the middle of an international case that has to do with art dealers, con men, and paid killers. When the elderly owner of the American gallery which handled the British firm's artwork is killed in a similar manner, West sets up an overseas partnership with Lieutenant Goodison of the NYPD. The men work as fast as possible tracking former employees, lovers, anyone who might have a grudge against the art dealers or who might have a stake in what's been going on at the galleries. But it takes time to track down leads and the person behind this is a ruthless killer who doesn't mind murdering anyone who gets in their way...
So...my last Inspector West book (The Beauty Queen Killer) had West dealing with a pretty full of himself, fairly insubordinate young police detective by the name of Turnbull and the murders involved beautiful young women. And wouldn't you know, seven books later, here we are watching West (just promoted to Superintendent) deal with the self-same, just as full of himself, coming back up through the ranks Turnbull. Turnbull bragged at the end of Beauty Queen that busting him back to sergeant wouldn't keep him down for long and, by golly, he was right. Oh...and the woman who is killed? She was a rare beauty with a sister almost as beautiful as she was.
I didn't care for Turnbull in my last read and he hasn't improved with age. He certainly hasn't learned any tact or how to control his insubordinate mouth/nature. He doesn't seem to have any regard for West at all, despite the fact that the Superintendent stuck his neck to prevent Turnbull from being drummed out of the force altogether the last time. And this episode ends pretty much as that last one did--Turnbull goes off on his own (after being explicitly told to do no such thing), gets injured, nearly gets an innocent person killed, and only the fact that West recognizes full well that his subordinate is doing his own thing again prevents there from being two more deaths added to the score.Quite honestly, I was disappointed by the ending--not with the mystery. The mystery is fine, though tending more towards thriller than classic whodunnit. I enjoyed the parts with West and Goodison and thought their detective work quite good. But, for the life of me, I can't understand West's continued willingness to cover for Turnbull. The man's insubordination put an innocent person at risk and caused himself and others to be injured. West himself was in danger. And West is "happy" that he can arrange for Turnbull to resign from the force in good standing rather than be dismissed as he should be. The man plans on going off on his own--I assume to be a private detective where he doesn't have to answer to anyone. That ought to work out splendidly. ★★★--though I'm tempted to go lower simply because of Turnbull.
First line: "Handsome," Turnbull said, from the door of the Chief Inspector's Office.
Last line: He deliberately avoided her, but wasn't surprised when Janet told him, weeks later, that the Turnbulls were going to make a fresh start.
Deaths = 7 (two stabbed; one smoke inhalation; one hit on head; two burned to death; one shot)