“Absolutely riveting . . . A masterpiece. I defy anyone to foresee the outcome.”—Ruth Rendell
The year is 1921. A passionate affair between voracious romance reader Alma Webster and her dentist, Walter Baranov, has led to his wife’s murder. The lovers take flight aboard the Mauretania and the dentist takes the name of Inspector Dew, the detective who arrested the notorious wifekiller Dr. Crippen. But, in a disquieting twist, a murder occurs aboard ship and the captain invites “Inspector Dew” to investigate.
|Publisher:||Soho Press, Incorporated|
|Product dimensions:||5.06(w) x 7.48(h) x 0.80(d)|
About the Author
Peter Lovesey is the author of more than thirty highly praised mystery novels and has been awarded the CWA Gold and Silver Daggers and the Diamond Dagger for Lifetime Achievement, as well as many US honors. He lives in West Sussex, England.
Read an Excerpt
SS MAURETANIA. 9 SEPT 1921.
REFERENCE SUSPICIOUS DEATH ON BOARD HAVE
INVITED CHIEF INSPECTOR DEW OF SCOTLAND
YARD TO INVESTIGATE.
A. H. ROSTRON, CAPTAIN.
Chief Inspector Dew. The Commissioner remembered Dew.He was the man who had pulled in Dr Crippen. That was backin 1910. He was damned sure Dew had quit the force the sameyear.
He picked up a pencil. Under the message he wrote:
What's this tomfoolery? Comedians are your department.
Smiling to himself, he addressed it to his deputy.
The Deputy Commissioner was at Waterloo that day withCharlie Chaplin. Two hundred constables with arms linkedwere standing in support. Chaplin had come back to Londonafter nine years in America. He had gone there as a member ofthe Karno troupe of music hall comedians. He was returning asone of the world's most famous men. Thousands had gathered atthe station.
When the train steamed in, the Deputy Commissioner and hissenior men raced towards the compartment reserved forChaplin. They seized him like a prisoner and hustled him alongthe platform. Beyond the barrier where the crowd was waiting,the blue line stood firm. Chaplin was funneled into a waitinglimousine. Few people saw him.
The Deputy Commissioner in a police car drove aheadtowards the Ritz Hotel. In Piccadilly it was like Armistice Dayagain. They took the back way through St James's intoArlington Street.
Chaplin and a cousin sat white-faced in theLanchester, thedoors locked and the windows up. Grinning faces pressedagainst the glass. The cars inched forward. More policematerialised. Chaplin was ordered out. They had reached theRitz side entrance. He refused to use it. He was home intriumph. As a lowly music hall performer, he had oftendreamed of staying at the Ritz. The crowd had come to see himtake his place among the rich and famous, the little trampamong the toffs. He announced that he would enter at the front.
The cars edged into Piccadilly. Chaplin got out and stoodwaving on the running-board. The people surged towards him.The Deputy Commissioner was in despair. By some amazinggift of character or training, Chaplin controlled his public. Hemade a simple speech. They listened solemnly. They cheered.They let him go inside. But they would not disperse. A doubleline of traffic stood from Hyde Park Corner to Piccadilly Circus.Chaplin was in the Regal Suite. He had the windows opened. Hegathered the carnations from a vase and threw them to thecrowd. It was hours before the police could be withdrawn.
Late that night, the Deputy Commissioner came back toScotland Yard. He had to clear his desk. He was hungry and hisfeet ached. He went swiftly through his correspondence. He readthe wireless message and the Commissioner's droll comment:Comedians are your department. He did not smile.
Walter Dew was vivid in his memory. It was his opinion thatDew was not a great detective, despite his reputation. He hadbeen careless over evidence. He had been far too tender-hearted.He had betrayed a lot of sympathy for the murderer Crippen.He had been lucky to convict him and he knew it. On the daythat the appeal was lost, Walter Dew had left the force. He wasonly in his forties at the time. The Deputy Commissioner hadnever seen a man so glad to take his pension. Dew had gone tolive in Worthing, on the coast. It was strange that he should turnup on an ocean liner, offering to assist with an investigation.
But Dew was an enigma. And at sea, the captain's word waslaw. It would be interesting to see if Chief Inspector Dew wasequal to his legend.
What could Scotland Yard do now, except take note?
The Deputy Commissioner ticked the message, tossed it in atray, dismissed it from his mind and went to find a taxi.
Next day a clerk consigned the message to a box-file.
Excerpted from The False Inspector Dew by Peter Lovesey. Copyright © 1982 by Peter Lovesey Limited. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This was recommended to me by a coworker and did not disappoint. The storyline is entertaining with a look back to life in a more glamorous era aboard a cruise ship. The main characters have plotted the death of his spouse and an escape to America from England. They snatched the idea from a true tale and the career of the renowned Inspector Dew of Scotland Yard. There are several twists and turns and much "deviosity" throughout.There are shipboard romances, unexpected murder and vintage Lovesey dialogue. It is fun and smart and oh so much fun to read. Give it a try.
I loved this book from beginning to end. Very fun to read and get lost in. Highly engaging, lots of twists, and easy to follow.
If I could I would give six stars. If there was something like ¿the perfect mystery-novel¿ this book would deserve that title. The ¿False Inspector¿ has everything you ask from a good crime-novel: Claustrophobic scene (crossing the Atlantic on a ship), some characters that make you curious who they really are, some confusion, some funny occurences and several twists that turn the story around without any lack of logic. The best thing: In my opinion the book contains not a single word too many. Everything is at its right place, the timing is perfect and in the (surprising) end you detect that you can interpret apparently solid facts in quite another way than you first thought.
Lovesy is quickly becoming my new favorite British suspense/mystery author. A master of the staggering ending, he creates characters who are both quick-witted and witty. "Dew" is set mostly on one of the huge Cunard liners in 1921. A pretty straight-forward murder plot is hatched between a dentist and a woman who is besotted with him, involving the dentist's wife being tossed overboard after she tosses off a bit of chloroform. Once we board ship, however, all bets are off. The intricacies of the plot, the many characters who aren't what they seem, and an acerbic with make this book a new classic in the "impossible crime" genre. Highly recommended.
Well written and enjoyable - keeps you guessing!