Heat, by Ed McBain

A wife comes home from a business trip to find her husband dead in their apartment, apparently from suicide. But Carella wants to know why, in the middle of a heatwave, the air conditioning had been turned off.

Pretty good story, or rather three stories. As well as the investigation into the suicide, Carella's partner Kling is worried that his wife may be having an affair. And on top of that, an ex-con has just returned to the city and bears Kling a grudge. All of these take place against a background of a city where everyone is too hot; the oppressive heat is all-pervasive.

The whole thing works pretty well, with the "procedural" approach meaning that the focus is more on how the investigation works out, rather than the clever solving of puzzles. Kling's story was quite moving, as he attempts to trail his wife and use his detective knowledge to work out what she's been doing.

The thing that was a bit strange was the ending: all three plots got wound up in the last ten pages of the book, which included the transcript of an interview where the killer confessed. It all seemed a bit abrupt, but apart from that niggle, it was a worthwhile read.

Completed : 19-May-2007

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