Cover image for Gospel
James, Bill, 1929-
Personal Author:
First American edition.
Publication Information:
New York : W.W. Norton, 1997.

Physical Description:
206 pages ; 21 cm
General Note:
"A Foul Play Press book."
Geographic Term:
Format :


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Detective Chief Superintendent Colin Harpur tries to protect a pretty college student who becomes involved with his wealthy and powerful underworld informant.

Author Notes

Bill James lives in Wales.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Married and the father of two, Detective Chief Superintendent Colin Harpur is infatuated with a university student named Denise, who's nearly young enough to be his daughter. It turns out Denise is best friends with the girlfriend of Harpur's best snitch, Jack Lamb. A tip from Lamb sets Harpur up to arrest master thief Martin Webb, but things go awry, and Webb's son is shot to death. Of course, the grief-maddened Webb swears revenge on Harpur and, when he learns about Denise, figures he has the perfect pawn for a terrifying game of retaliation. James' police procedurals are second to none, thanks largely to his wickedly dark humor, the way he shows the human flaws of crook and cop, and his ability to draw the thin line between the good guys and the bad. Cleverly plotted, devilishly funny, and full of grim and gritty reality, James' latest is an entertaining and provocative addition to an impressive series. --Emily Melton

Publisher's Weekly Review

Clever and complex, James's ninth police procedural featuring Detective Chief Superintendent Colin Harpur explores the shadowy, dangerous world of "grasses"‘informers with one foot in the underworld, the other in the police camp and a precarious grasp on the future. Jack Lamb, an art dealer of questionable respectability but certain wealth, is Harpur's major grass. It's a tip from Lamb that allows the police successfully to ambush an armed robbery resulting in the death of dull-witted thief Martin Webb. Doug Webb, Martin's father, is intent on revenge against both Harpur and suspected grass Lamb. As in other James novels, both the police cast and the criminal one are full of recurring characters waging a virtual class war in which some cops have more in common with some criminals (and vice-versa) than with their colleagues. Harpur, never a paragon of domestic virtue, is having an affair with a pretty college student, Denise Prior, and her innocent friendship with Lamb's girlfriend marks her as a possible informer and an easy target for Webb's revenge. Webb forms an uneasy alliance with "Panicking" Ralph Ember and Courtney Sanquhar-Perry to pull off a big score, but he also plots vengeance on his own. As he has in earlier entries (Astride the Grave, etc.), James again delivers dead-on dialogue and colorful characters on both sides of the law whose seamless credibility lifts this series well above the ordinary. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved