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    Review of FULL OF MONEY by Bill James

    Severn House, December 2009

    Reporter Gervaise Tasker was murdered and left on childrens' playground equipment when his investigation into London drug dealing apparently rubbed someone the wrong way. Police Detective Chief Superintendent Ester Davidson is charged with finding the killer but with a drug war apparently about to break out between two London neighborhoods, there are plenty of suspects.

    Druglord Adrian Pellotte has profitted from the drug traffic for years--the money has supported his family and a host of dependents. Now his daughter is dating a man from the rival neighborhood and the conflict has caused his followers to wonder whether he can be shaken from his post. There are always rivals for leadership. Meanwhile, Pellotte tries to help his daughter's boyfriend--all the while concerned that the young man may be sleeping with another woman.

    Author Bill James (see more reviews of mysteries by James) has a wonderful flair for dialogue and he uses it fully here. Conversations are never direct, always convoluted, full of non-answers, of indirect suggestions, of meanings that are the opposite of the words beings spoken. This is often very funny. I found, however, the rest of the story to be disappointing. Ester never really did much to solve the crime, semi-protagonist Larry Edgehill is not especially interesting. The real characters of interest were Adrian and his bodyguard/deputy Dean Feston. Unfortunately, we didn't get to see enough of these two--the scene where they shake down one of Adrian's dealers followed by their attending a literary festival, suit jackets filled with money. is the high point of the short novel.

    I'm a fan of Bill James's Harpur and Iles stories. In these, we have Harpur and Iles on the police side, Panicking Ralph and others on the criminal side, and real character growth and motivation. I missed these in FULL OF MONEY.

    Two Stars

    Reviewed 4/28/10

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