Dark Mirror (Brock and Kolla Series #10) [NOOK Book]

Overview


Newly promoted to Detective Inspector, Kathy Kolla of the Serious Crimes Unit is called in by the forensic pathologist regarding the recent sudden death of a London student from what he’s determined to be arsenic poisoning. Marion Summers had no reason to be in contact with arsenic and, though once common, arsenic is now very hard to get hold of. The more Kolla investigates, the more she discovers that certain other things about Summers are also unusual. She moved three octobers ago without leaving a forwarding ...
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Dark Mirror (Brock and Kolla Series #10)

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Overview


Newly promoted to Detective Inspector, Kathy Kolla of the Serious Crimes Unit is called in by the forensic pathologist regarding the recent sudden death of a London student from what he’s determined to be arsenic poisoning. Marion Summers had no reason to be in contact with arsenic and, though once common, arsenic is now very hard to get hold of. The more Kolla investigates, the more she discovers that certain other things about Summers are also unusual. She moved three octobers ago without leaving a forwarding address or informing her relatives. And her step-father has a disquieting past and, after attacking a constable in a pub, a not-so-savory present. With each turn in the investigation, it becomes increasingly clear that behind what really happened—and why—lies the most difficult-to-crack case the team has ever faced.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
When Ph.D. student Marion Summers collapses and dies in the London Library in the excellent ninth entry in Maitland's series featuring Kathy Kolla, newly promoted to detective inspector, and Det. Chief Insp. David Brock (Spider Trap, etc.), everyone assumes her diabetes is to blame. But when arsenic is discovered in Summers's system, Kolla takes charge of her first investigation. As part of her thesis, Summers was researching the 19th-century avant-garde painters and poets known as the Pre-Raphaelites. Summers had recently become obsessed with poisons, particularly arsenic, and her theories concerning its role in the lives of the Pre-Raphaelites had caused tensions among her academic peers. With Brock's help, Kolla digs deeper into the young woman's life and uncovers an unsettling past and numerous suspects who may have wished her harm. Maitland crafts a suspenseful whodunit with enough twists and turns to keep even the sharpest readers on their toes. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Newly promoted Detective Inspector Kathy Kolla of the Serious Crimes Squad (No Trace) is asked to look into a student's fatal poisoning. The case rapidly becomes a complex probe into the life of Marion Summers and her research involving the pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and William Morris in particular. She has been poisoned with arsenic, almost impossible to obtain now but used widely by the Victorians in everything from paint to medicine. VERDICT Maitland, one of the most underrated British writers of the police procedural (he now lives in Australia and has won the Ned Kelly Award), weaves a complicated tale involving the past as much as the present. For procedural fans.
Kirkus Reviews
Researching eminent Victorians can be dangerous, DI Kathy Kolla realizes; you can end up as dead as they are, and by the same means. Titian-haired Marion Summers, a doctoral student in European literature, collapses one morning on arriving at the London Library. The cause of her death, according to pathologist Sundeep Mehta, was arsenic, a poison so seldom used by contemporary criminals that it seems a relic from the 19th century. Investigating possible sources of the poison, Kathy begins to see that Marion's demise echoes in disturbingly literal ways the subject of her research: the interlocking relationships among Dante Gabriel Rossetti and other Pre-Raphaelite poets and painters-as well as, it turns out, some of their murderous Victorian contemporaries. Although Marion's brutish stepfather Keith Rafferty and creepy stalker Nigel Ogilvie inject a note of tawdry modernity into the proceedings, the truth behind her death seems related to her academic connections to Dr. Anthony da Silva, her dissertation supervisor, and biographer Sophie Warrender, for whom Marion worked as a part-time researcher. As usual, Maitland delights in revealing layer upon layer of skullduggery. While Kathy's detective work slowly reveals "a murderess acting as a kind of hidden agent within the Pre-Raphaelite circle," Marion's case, first classified as murder, later seems more likely a suicide until a second, virtually identical death points the finger at murder once more. Like All My Enemies (2009), average for this distinguished series. But Kathy's fans, presented with two installments of her adventures in two months, can hardly complain.
From the Publisher
"Excellent ... Maitland crafts a suspenseful whodunit with enough twists and turns to keep even the sharpest readers on their toes."

Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

 

"Maitland delights in revealing layer upon layer of skullduggery."

Kirkus Reviews

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781429956017
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 9/29/2009
  • Series: Brock and Kolla Series , #10
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 122,746
  • File size: 302 KB

Meet the Author


BARRY MAITLAND is the author of several novels in the Brock and Kolla series. Raised in London, Maitland lives in Australia. He was a finalist for the Barry Award, the John Creasey Award, and the winner of the Ned Kelley Award.
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Read an Excerpt


ONENIGEL OGILVIE HURRIED UP the stairs to the Reading Room on the first floor, and made his way, panting slightly, to the big windows overlooking the square. It was a dazzling spring morning, the sun glistening on new foliage bursting from the trees in the central garden, so that it seemed as if King William on his bronze horse was prancing through a brilliant green cloud. Nigel spotted the familiar figure sitting on a bench not far from the statue, her head bent over a book, and watched as she wiped her mouth with a paper napkin, then slowly gathered up the wrapper and drink bottle by her side. He reached into his pocket for his mobile phone and took a picture, capturing the moment as Marion got to her feet and the sun caught her, setting her red hair alight. She began to walk towards the library, tossing her rubbish into a bin. Her coat was unbuttoned, and he watched the swell of her thighs beneath her dress as she strode, head up. Lithe, he thought, that was the word. He felt a small quickening of his heartbeat and turned away, making his way across the Reading Room to where he’d left his book earlier. Settling himself in the red leather armchair, he opened the heavy volume on his knee and waited, eyes unfocused on the text.He was finding it hard to concentrate these days, his research not going well. The idea for the project, Deadly Gardens, had been dreamed up by his boss over a boozy lunch, and Nigel was convinced that it wasn’t going to work. For the past week he’d been trying to make something of the gardens that Lucrezia Borgia would have known at Ferrara, Nepi, Spoleto and Foligno, but really, it was a waste of time—Lucrezia had had more pressing things on her mind than gardening. She too had red hair, if Veneziano’s portrait was to be believed, and Nigel imagined that she and Marion might have other things in common—a dangerous attraction for one.Deadly Gardens. He sighed with frustration. He detested Stephen, his boss, a philistine about half his age, who treated him with an amused contempt that made him feel as if he was back at school. But at least the project had provided him with an excuse to hide himself here in the library. He loved the place, a refuge where he could turn off his importuning mobile phone, bury himself in the womb of a million books, snuffle about on the steel grille floors among the stacks, do The Times crossword and—a particular satisfaction—observe the other patrons. Poking about in the memoirs of the dead was fascinating, of course, but there was a particular buzz, a special frisson, about the leisurely observation of lives in which passions were still unresolved, and suffering still to be endured.And here she came at last, Marion Summers, making her entrance up the main stair and looking more Pre-Raphaelite than ever, with her long flowing skirt and that mane of thick red hair and complexion so pale—deathly pale this morning—that he could make out the faint blue line of the artery ticking in her throat. She too had her particular place in the Reading Room, at one of the tables, her pile of books next to the small vase of flowers she’d brought in the previous day. He wondered where they’d come from. They were white, and more like wild flowers than the sort of thing you’d find in a florist’s, rather improbable in Central London. What had she been up to last weekend? Was there an admirer out there he didn’t know about?He watched her as she approached, trying to hide his eagerness, and wondered if she would glance at him and offer one of her knowing little smiles. They were at least at that stage, although in his imagination they were a good deal further. Stephen would be irate to learn that he had certainly spent more time studying her than the Borgias’ gardens. He knew her borrowing record, her home address, her working timetable, her tastes in soft drinks and sandwiches. He could recall exactly the intonations of her voice when she was puzzled, amused, cajoling the librarians who helped her track down the things she needed. And he had many photographs of her, working here in the library, sitting outside in St. James’s Square beneath William III on his prancing horse, and on the bus. And all this he had acquired in secret, without arousing the least suspicion.Marion paused beside her table, splaying her fingers on its surface for support. There was a faint sheen of perspiration on her forehead, which was creased by a frown, as if she were trying to make sense of something. She grimaced suddenly, raising a hand abruptly to her mouth and reaching with the other for her chair. But before she could grasp it she staggered, and her hand knocked the vase of flowers to the floor. She doubled over with a moan and sank to her knees.“Oh!” Her cry was cut off as she was abruptly sick, her body convulsing violently, sending the chair tumbling onto its back.Consternation spread out in ripples across the Reading Room, people rising to their feet, craning to see what had happened. But Nigel remained where he was, eyes bright, phone in hand, fastidiously recording every detail. She was being sick again, poor thing, writhing in agony as she retched over the red carpet.One of the librarians was running forward. “What is it?” she demanded. “What’s wrong?”A man who had been seated at her table said, “She … she’s having some sort of attack,” shrinking back with a look of horrified pity on his face. Last to respond, the two old codgers in the armchairs in front of the fireplace had belatedly risen to their feet. Everyone’s attention was focused on the epicentre of the drama, unaware of Nigel taking surreptitious pictures of Marion thrashing about helplessly on the floor, and of the shock on people’s faces as they witnessed this awful scene, all of them struck by the same terrible realisation that such a thing, whatever it was, could happen to anyone, at any time, even here in this sanctuary.“Is there a doctor here?” the librarian cried.Actually there were six in the room, but none of them of the medical kind, and they were quite unable to help.“Are you calling an ambulance?” she demanded, and Nigel froze, realising suddenly that she was staring straight at him.“Yes, absolutely!” He dialled triple nine, feeling himself the focus of attention now as people thankfully averted their eyes from Marion. He spoke fast and clearly to the operator, feeling he was doing it rather well, and when they wanted to know his name he gave it with a little thrill of excitement—he would be on the official record.“Airways,” the librarian said. “We have to make sure she doesn’t choke.” But that was easier said than done, for Marion’s body was racked by convulsive spasms. It was some minutes before they subsided enough for the librarian to bravely stick her fingers into the young woman’s mouth to make sure she hadn’t swallowed her tongue. Kneeling in the mess, she cradled Marion’s head on her lap and stroked her hair soothingly, the wild flowers scattered on the carpet all around. Nigel got some good shots of that.Someone was gathering up the contents of Marion’s bag, which had spilled over the floor. Nigel stooped to help. He picked up a hairbrush, with strands of her red hair coiled around its bristles, and reluctantly put it back into the bag. But he palmed the computer memory stick lying beside it, slipping it into his pocket.DARK MIRROR. Copyright © 2009 by Barry Maitland. All rights reserved. For information, address St. Martin’s Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010.


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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 28, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    exciting fresh British police procedural

    In the London Library, Ph.D. candidate Marion Summers researches nineteenth century Pre-Raphaelite artists when she suddenly crumples and drops dead. Since Marion suffered from diabetes, the assumption by all who knew her is the disease caused her death. Recently promoted Detectives Inspector Kathy Kolla leads the official investigation, her first time in charge of a case, though she also expects the medical examiner will determine the cause of death to be related to diabetes.

    However, instead the medical examiner finds arsenic inside Summers' body. Kolla is in charge of the homicide investigation. The cop learns Summers was focusing on the use of arsenic and other poisons by the Pre-Raphaelites. Her theories were upsetting the academic circles as being too way-out. However, that should not be a motive for murder. With Detective Chief Inspector Brock's mentoring, Kolla looks into the personal non-academia life of the victim finding several people who might want to kill her and who had the opportunity to poison her, using ironically what Summers was studying as the means which remains difficult to ascertain.

    This is an exciting fresh British police procedural as DI Kolla heads her first investigation as the lead with DCI Brock supporting her. The story line is fast-paced and filled with plausible twists that enhance the inquiry. Fans of the series will enjoy this super Kolla-Brock collaboration.

    Harriet Klausner

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