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Scene of Crime    by Jill McGown order for
Scene of Crime
by Jill McGown
Order:  USA  Can
Ballantine, 2001 (2001)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Scene of Crime is McGown's eleventh entry in her police procedural series about Detective Chief Inspectors Lloyd and Hill. They make an interesting pair, not only because they juggle work and romance, but also because they don't conform to stereotypes in either context. It's Judy Hill who is the logical, rational detective and Lloyd who makes the guesses and intuitive leaps. On the social front, Lloyd wants to marry and move in with Judy, and she is the one reluctant to make a commitment.

I must have missed an episode or two, as I was surprised to find Hill in her eighth month of pregnancy (and still avoiding tying the knot) this time. She's uncomfortable and anxious about the extent of Lloyd's participation in the birth. She expects him to find an excuse to avoid the delivery room and subsequent childcare, despite his avowed expertise with nappies (diapers to N. Americans). Other than that, Judy is not very present in this story, though she does toss in the occasional key suggestion.

While Judy and Lloyd are assisting with a pantomine rehearsal, he is called out to a murder scene. The victim is the wife of one of the participants, Dr. Carl Bignall. It appears to be a case of manslaughter during a burglary. Young offender Ryan Chester, who sold some of the stolen items, is quickly pulled in, along with his younger brother Dexter, spotted running from the scene. Detective Tom Finch sees it as an open and shut case, but to Lloyd it's not so simple. Further investigation turns up all kinds of confusing clues and a few more suspects, including another doctor and an ex-cop.

The author does a skilled job of leading the reader down several garden paths before opening the gate to reveal the true killer. As usual it's fun watching Lloyd, Tom and Judy in action and seeing the (slow) evolution of the relationship between the two DCI's. Of course the big question about the next book in the series is whose murder will keep Lloyd from the birth?

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