Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Lock the doors, turn out the lights

So, I finished Simon R. Green's newest Ishmael Jones today, Dead Man Walking, while on lunch.

Much like the first one, there's no real connection to the bigger shared world he's created in his other series, just a maybe alien working for a nebulous organization known as "The Organization", and once again, said alien, Ishmael Jones, is solving a cozy.

In this case, Ishmael and his new girlfriend/partner Penny, are sent to the remote Ringstone Lodge, just south of Hadrian's Wall. The lodge is mostly a fortress, designed for off the record interrogations and the like.

The current guest of honor at the Lodge is one Frank Parker, someone who left the origanization to work for the opposition, and now wants to come back. Ishmael's job is to determine if Parker is who he says he is before a deal can be made. (Parker has had extensive identity corrections.)

The lodge is full of mostly unscrupulous characters, from the hired outside security to the dating interrogaters. Only two folks seem above reproach, MacKay, on loan from the ministry of defense and the only one with a master key, and the chief of electronic surveillance, Martin. 

Strange things are afoot at Ringstone Lodge. About half the characters, except for Ishmael, are convinced the place is haunted, likely by the witch buried in the family plot on the grounds. Hauntings straight of of Shirley Jackson abound, with phantom knocking and footsteps echoing down the halls at various intervals.

And then Parker winds up dead inside his locked cell.

From there is goes on in typical cozy fashion, as bodies appear then disappear, and the suspect get narrowed down.

While it is an engaging read, the identity of the murderer is fairly obvious although the motive isn't. Not quite sure his solution on how to murder someone in a locked room is an improvement over the old "use a rope to do and undo the latch", but it is what it is. And it does provide a pleasant change of pace from his usual chutzpah.