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Four moon gifSt. Martin's Minotaur (Hardcover),
ISBN: 0-312-20469-8
This book requires tenacity. Read the first chapter, but don't expect to understand much until you finish the book. Then read it again. Ah ha! The people depicted in the brief scenario become real people you care about. Their actions become most understandable; the book's implications, clear. But, don't worry, the book gives up its other secrets on the first read. 

Book: Marjorie Eccles, Killing Me SoftlyConsider this your Cliff Notes (r) for untangling the web Marjorie Eccles weaves in her most recent English mystery, Killing Me Softly. Keep an eye on the slippery Tim Wishart, husband to Clare and father to Amy and Richie. The action follows this cad as he gambles away his money, sleeps with his wife's best friend and partner Ellie Redvers, and lives off his wife's inheritance and the income from her catering business, the Miller's Wife. (Shades of Chaucer!) And that's nothing compared to what happens after he dies! (Yes, someone gets killed. Although by chapter six my concern over lack of bloodshed caused me to stop and brew a cuppa.)  

Book: Marjorie Eccles, A Species of RevengeDetective Superintendent Gil Mayo and Detective Inspector Abigail Moon dedicate their professional lives to solving the crimes plaguing pastoral little Lavenstock and Hertfordshire. Abigail's old boyfriend seeks her help with what may be the first of a series of disappearances. Then Barbie Nelson, an employee of the Miller's Wife, disappears. A motley crew of druggies think one of their buddies disappeared. Gil's live-in girlfriend -- a bizarre woman who gave up her police career to become an interior designer -- drags Gil away from work, a highly unusual occurrence. And don't forget Ben Appleyard, Sam Nash, Sybil Wishart, Tony Pardoe and. Whew!  

Each name identifies a character with a story to tell, a thread to weave into this complicated tapestry of whodunwhat. But for all my complaining, the book never bored me, never became predictable. Each thread -- er story -- completes Eccles intricate pattern with immaculate precision. She must have been a weaver in another life, because she never drops the shuttle nor broke a thread throughout this well wrought mystery. For those who appreciate an English mystery, this one looms high on my list of finely crafted mysteries.  

One last warning: don't expect to speed read or skim Killing Me Softly. Read every word. Savor. Enjoy. 

Dawn Goldsmith

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