Remain Silent

In Remain Silent, the third book in the Manon Bradshaw series, the Cambridgeshire police detective inspector's life is so hectic that finding a body hanging from a tree while she's at the park with her four-year-old doesn't ratchet things up too many notches. The novel's abundant humor, derived principally from Bradshaw's fried nerves, meshes easily with a serious premise: Susie Steiner dives deep into anti-immigrant sentiment in modern-day England, and what it can mean to risk everything for a fresh start in a new world.

Pinned to the dead young man's pants is a note written in a foreign language; a spin through Google Translate reveals it to be a message in Lithuanian: "The dead cannot speak." Also found on the body is an ID card that names the victim as Lukas Balsys. He isn't traceable online--no surprise if Balsys is one of the undocumented Lithuanians who have been enticed to the U.K. to work as manual laborers for money that they never receive. The note, plus the fact that the body shows no signs of struggle, point to suicide, but the lack of certitude prompts a murder inquiry helmed by the capable but perma-frazzled Bradshaw.

For the Manon Bradshaw series, which began with Missing, Presumed, Steiner has crafted a detective of an entirely original cut. If overwhelmed working mom Kate Reddy of Allison Pearson's comic novels turned gumshoe, she could be Bradshaw, whose "sexual fantasies, such as they are, generally involve men performing minor DIY while retaining their emotional equilibrium." --Nell Beram, author and freelance writer

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