Mystery: love and death in Breckham Market

Fate Worse Than Death, by Sheila Radley. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. 222 pp. $13.95. Sheila Radley continues to develop her characters and their relationships with one another in her fifth mystery novel. Chief Inspector Douglas Quantrill, head of the Criminal Investigation Department in the Suffolk town of Breckham Market, and his assistant, Sergeant Hilary LLoyd, are called in to investigate the murder of a young woman who disappeared two days before her wedding. In the same village, Inspector Martin Tait of the Regional Crime Squad, Quantrill's former assistant, is visiting his aunt, who informs him that she plans to leave her fortune to charity. Although her father objects and she has quarreled with him, Tait hopes eventually to marry Quantrill's younger daughter, Alison, and to support her in style on his expected inheritance. Then another woman disappears, Tait's aunt dies, apparently by her own hand, and the village men seem to be guilty of something. The solving of the continuing characters' problems is as important as the solving of the crimes in this well-written novel, rich in characterization and atmosphere.

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