Joan Smith's third Loretta Lawson book once again sees the English academic questioning a mysterious death, this time putting herself in danger.
Set in London over Christmas and New Year, the amateur sleuth reluctantly puts up an old acquaintance on her sofa bed. We discover Loretta's conflicting feelings about her friends, lover and ex-husband, which I think make the character more sympathetic and give her more depth.
Most of the action takes place in Loretta's flat in Islington. In the first two books of the series, Loretta's use of telephone boxes and landlines placed the stories firmly in the mid-80s, and now there's a development in telecoms with the ansaphone. I enjoyed how Joan Smith incorporated this "new" technology into the plot. Poor Loretta is still listening to Vivaldi and the Communards on a cassette player tho'. Let's hope she gets a CD player in the next book.