A Meeting of Minds Hardcover – Sep 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Prolific British crime writer Curzon convincingly makes the case for a larger U.S. readership with this well-crafted whodunit, the 10th entry in her series to feature Det. Supt. Mike Yeadings (after 2003's The Body of a Woman). Yeadings and his diverse team of Thames Valley detectives probe the death of a young woman found stabbed in a car, clothed only in a fur coat. The circle of suspects includes her neighbors in a new apartment development and her estranged father. Curzon does an excellent job of portraying the byplay and pedestrian details of daily police work and throws in enough plot twists to satisfy classic mystery fans. The solution is unexpected but logical, and while Curzon is not quite Peter Lovesey, those who enjoy that author's Peter Diamond series should find Yeadings an acceptable substitute.
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About the Author
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
"A Meeting of Minds" is a quiet, intelligent and compelling British police procedural that is bound to intrigue. Clare Curzon does a wonderful job of sketching out the characters (both primary and secondary) involved in this particular mystery, inviting our interest and making us care about them and the mystery at hand. I'll admit, however, to feeling slightly frustrated that the clues were far and between, thus not allowing the reader to solve the case along with the police officers. However, "A Meeting of Minds" was a well written mystery novel and a compelling one too, so that niggles aside, I'd vote it as a good 3 star read.
Detective Sergeant Rosemary "Z" Zycynski immediately identifies the dead person as her Ashbourne House neighbor, Sheila Winter. Z explains to Mike that elderly Beattie Weyman recently bought Ashbourne House and converted it into luxury apartments. She also says that the victim owned a garden centre and shared her flat with her mother. As far as Z knew Sheila had nothing else in her life. Concluding murder occurred Mike and his Thames Valley team investigates the neighbors to uncover what happened to Sheila.
The Thames Valley CID mysteries are excellent British police procedurals with this entry being the usual superb investigative tale. The brisk story line takes off once the freezing Mike arrives at the crime scene and never decelerates until the case is solved. Mike is a terrific protagonist, but Z plays the centrist role as the victim was her neighbor and she more or less knows the other residents of Ashbourne House. An intriguing sidebar is the motive behind why Beattie converted the house as this lonely senior with the victim brings a message that everyone needs companionship. Ms. Curzon's latest tour of the Thames is a winner.
Curzon does err a bit on the side of villains and heroes; we have one evil, incompetent detective among the good, who becomes a bit of an easy target. But generally the characters are nicely mixed, all with their secrets and weaknesses. If you have not read a Curzon before, you can step into the series effortlessly with this one; there are references to a character who has gone away, but no backstory is needed. And it's pleasant, amid the rash of deeply troubled detectives and police officers, to find a set who are relatively cheerful and competent.
Recommended for fans of Christie, Rendell, and Margaret Yorke.