Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyIn her fifth appearance (after Festering Lillies), London's Willow King-civil servant by day; romance writer by night; sleuth by necessity-takes on both death and taxes. The late Fiona Fydgett, an art dealer, was driven to suicide, according to her sister, by an overzealous Inland Revenue agent. Willow, who lives like the pampered heroines of her novels, is asked by the squeaky-clean Minister for Rights and Charters to help investigate possible agency abuse. Whether sketching Willow's mysterious housekeeper, Mrs. Rusham, who manages to be caring while keeping her distance, or describing plodding, idiosyncratic bureaucrats, Cooper deftly sketches her characters, lacing the charm with plenty of menace. Just as Willow's inquiry is picking up steam, someone sets a fatal fire in her office building, and Tom, her detective husband, is shot while on duty. Exerting her iron self-control nearly to the breaking point, Willow triumphs and finds the killer. Material that might have been overwrought in less sure hands becomes, under Cooper's direction, clever, unpredictable and thoroughly absorbing. (July)
Emily MeltonIt's hard to believe that anyone could concoct an interesting murder mystery based on the British Inland Revenue (the equivalent of our IRS), but Cooper manages to pull it off in her latest thriller featuring civil servant/romance writer Willow King. Blissful newlywed Willow reluctantly agrees to take on a special assignment for the minister of Rights and Charters: investigate the suicide of Dr. Fiona Fydgett, whom the minister fears may have killed herself because of undue pressure from the Inland Revenue to pay back taxes. Willow can't believe Fydgett would have committed suicide over such a trifling matter, but when she encounters the Inland Revenue staff--nasty, intimidating, and mean-spirited--she understands the minister's suspicions. Then Willow's husband is shot and nearly killed and Willow is trapped in an arson fire that almost claims her life. A strong heroine, an inventive plot with an unexpected climax, and plenty of taut suspense make this a better-than-average whodunit.
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