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Gray, Alex - 'Five Ways to Kill a Man'
Paperback: 352 pages (May 2010) Publisher: Sphere ISBN: 1847441971

In this seventh Lorimer and Brightman outing, DCI Lorimer and his wife Maggie are attending the wedding of psychologist Solomon Brightman and pathologist Rosie Fergusson.

Elsewhere in Glasgow, there is someone killing old ladies and making the deaths look like accidents. When prominent businessman Sir Ian Jackson and his wife Pauline die in a fire and there seems to be little progress, Lorimer is promoted to Superintendent and asked to review the case. He is soon aware that DI Rhoda Martin who was still on the case doesn't want him around (thinking that she should have been promoted after DCI Colin Ray resigned).

Whilst DSI Lorimer is trying to review the case, his mother-in-law Alice Finlay is taken to hospital with a stroke. When he tries to support Maggie during hospital visits, he very quickly realizes how difficult Colin Ray's life had been when he tried to look after his dying wife.

The only lead that seems to be available for the apparently unlinked arson attack and the deaths of the old ladies are the sightings of a black clad cyclist. When more old ladies die, Lorimer asks Solly for his insight into the case and he convinces Lorimer that a serial killer is on the loose. Solly is writing a book on female serial killers (of whom there haven't been many), but he is certain that this killer is a woman - but who?

After his review, it appears that the Chief Constable had directed DCI Ray not to look at motives other than that for local youths (and not to enquire into Jackson's private life). Lorimer finds that there are some shocking omissions in the case which he simply cannot ignore. The arson case is going nowhere and the only lead Lorimer has is an ex-gardener recently sacked by Jackson.

Then the serial killer gets closer to Lorimer and his family - can he unravel the clues and save the next victim?

Alex Gray produces a novel that holds the interest of the reader from start to finish. The story line develops William Lorimer, his wife Maggie and their friends (including Solly and Rosie). She shows that policemen are not always able to concentrate entirely on their current case - although Maggie does usually let him focus on work and reduce distractions. Gray brings Glasgow to life and yet again shows the very human side of policemen. Her novels are consistently well written and this seventh volume only adds to the long running story of William Lorimer.

Paul Blackburn, Scotland
June 2010

Details of the author's other books with links to reviews can be found on the Books page.
More European crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 6/06/2010 08:54