‘An Air That Kills’ by Andrew Taylor


Fiction – paperback; Hodder; 266 pages; 1994.

The bones of a baby are discovered in a disused privy as workmen demolish an old inn in a small market town on the England/Wales border in the 1950s. Newly arrived Detective Inspector Thornhill is called in to investigate what appears to be an old Victorian murder case. But all is not what it seems in this fairly pedestrian murder mystery by Andrew Taylor.

The characterisation — a tarty barmaid, a busybody who owns the town’s newspaper, a cantankerous elderly resident, among others — is poor and the plot moves along slowly. It’s a bit like a badly written Agatha Christie novel.

And the ending, described on the back cover as “satisfyingly chilling” by The Times, is as predictable as they come. I found this a disappointing read given that I loved Taylor’s Roth Trilogy.

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