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The Man With No Face    by Peter May order for
Man With No Face
by Peter May
Order:  USA  Can
Mobius, 2019 (1981)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

First published in 1981, Peter May's The Man With No Face sends Scotland's Daily Standard journalist Neil Bannerman on an unwelcome assignment from his disliked editor to Brussels in winter, 1979. Bannerman and Tait do not get along, but the editor can't fire 'the best investigative journalist in Scotland'.

The story alternates between Bannerman's doings and those of professional assassin Kale. We see him discuss a new assignment with his contact, with big money involved, enough to retire on. He is to kill Robert Gryffe, a Minister of State at the Foreign Office, and another man Gryffe has an appointment to meet in Brussels.

There, Bannerman stays with hostile fellow journalist Tim Slater in his townhouse, along with the latter's young autistic daughter, Tania, who has a strong talent in drawing what she sees, but who often loses control. Bannerman befriends Sally Robertson, an English teacher who regularly cares for Tania.

Readers see Kale make his plans and take out Gryffe and Slater. They also see what he doesn't, that young Tania watched what happened, hidden in a closet. Bannerman investigates, helped by Judicial Police Inspector Georges du Maurier, whose superiors want a quick closure on such a politically sensitive case.

Of course, you'll have guessed by now that young Tania is the key to finding the killer and those who hired him. Will she survive to draw what she saw? Will Bannerman survive? Can Kale follow his orders to kill a child? By the end, Bannerman uncovers an international conspiracy and writes a story that brings down a government. Peter May's excellent mysteries are always worth the read, and this early one is no exception.

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