Cover image for Candles for the dead
Candles for the dead
Smith, Frank, 1927-
Personal Author:
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
224 pages ; 22 cm
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What could have brought such violence on Beth Smallwood, a woman found beaten to death on the steps of a village church? DCI Neil Paget and his partner DS John Tregalles investigate once again, tugging at the loose ends in this complicated case to unravel the intricate web of deceit and deception at work in this seemingly peaceful Shropshire town.

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Publisher's Weekly Review

Shropshire police inspector Neil Paget investigates the brutal murder of a single mother in the intriguing followup to 1997's Stone Dead. When Beth Smallwood's body is found in front of the altar of Broadminster's village church, she appears to be the victim of a robbery gone awry. But after Paget finds signs that Beth had been raped and beaten earlier that same day, he believes that the killer had a more personal motive. Heading the list of suspects is Beth's no-good teenage son, Lenny, for whom she had been embezzling funds from the local bank where she worked. Next come Harry Beecham and Terry Ling, two aggrieved co-workers who resented Beth's recent promotion to manager of small business loans. Finally, there's Beth's boss, Arthur Gresham, a notorious womanizer who may have feared that Beth would disclose his own illegal activities. Smith's tale is set in a world saturated with the baser instincts of the human race. Almost all his female characters are weak, pitiable creatures motivated by fear and petty jealousy. They are easily manipulated by their abusive male counterparts, who view women as inferiors to be used for sex and fast cash. Gritty as it is, Smith's deftly written story unravels as the climax focuses on a surprise culprit whose last-minute introduction may disappoint expectant readers. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved