Killing Time, by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles

Sixth "Bill Slider" book. A trans-sexual(? or gay?) erotic dancer visits Bill Slider to complain of threatening phonecalls and letters, but since all the correspondence has been burned, there's not much evidence for Slider to go on. So when the dancer is later discovered murdered, Slider feels a special obligation to get to the bottom of things.

I confess to reading the first bit of this straight after finishing the previous book, which finished on something of a cliff-hanger, with Atherton's survival being left in some doubt. Atherton is out of action for most of the book, but is still a participant, as various people visit him in hospital and get his input on the case.

Sent in as a replacement for Atherton is woman detective Tony [sic] Hart, who I expected to turn out to be smart, insightful and generally better than the blokes, which often seems to be how women turn out in this type of fiction. So it was quite good when she turned out to be a bit naïve and clumsy in her handling of some aspects of the investigation. This isn't to say she was completely hopeless, but she didn't put the men to shame, which is what I'd been expecting. I'm not sure if she's intended to be a regular fixture in future books.

Couple of quotes I noted:

She was no fun in a pub - she always had orange juice
and, after Joanna comes across Bill and Irene in a pub, discussing their relationship
It was not until much later, when they were in bed together, that she brought the subject up again. 'What was she doing there, anyway? Irene.'
'She wanted to see me, to check I was in one piece. She was upset that no-one had told her I was in hospital.'
'So you asked her to lunch?'
'She more or less asked herself.'
After a silence, Joanna said, 'What did she really want to see you about?'
'Why should there be another reason?'
'I'll put it another way: what did she really want to see you about?'
Another good one.

Completed : 01-Apr-2012

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