British police detective Harriet Martens (aka "The Hard Detective" and protagonist of a book by the same title) returns for an encore performance in H.R.
F. Keating's cracking new novel A Detective in Love. In the wee hours before dawn, Martens is aroused by an urgent phone call or, more precisely, let's say that she was already in a state of some arousal, rudely interrupted by the insistent ringing of the phone. Disengaging herself from her amorous significant other, Martens answers the phone and is shocked into silence. It seems that wildly popular tennis star Bubbles Xingara, perhaps the most adored Brit since Princess Di, has been murdered on the grounds of her rural estate. The task of investigating the crime has been delegated to Harriet Martens, and with Wimbledon in the offing, the eyes of the world will be upon her. So why title the book A Detective in Love, you might ask. Well, it seems that Martens has developed an infatuation for her second-in-command, Detective Inspector Brent, and if that is a bit unsettling to the reader, it is a total bolt out of the blue to intrepid "Hard Detective" Martens, otherwise a happily married wife and mother. (Indeed, Cupid's darts are a recurring theme throughout.) Keating's novels are among the final holdouts of the traditional British mystery. A treat for anyone who enjoys Agatha Christie novels, they are cleverly plotted, wickedly eccentric and filled with the sort of characters oft referred to as "odd ducks."