My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Missing Susan is not a conventional murder mystery, in which the investigator tries to nab the killer.
Rather, in a refreshing turnabout, the reader follows London crime expert and tour guide Rowan Rover, the most unlikely killer for hire imaginable. Rowan’s preparing to lead a group of bibliophiles on a tour of sites connected with English mystery novels and crime scenes, when an American businessman approaches him with an offer he can’t refuse. All he has to do is find a way to kill the American’s niece, Susan, at some point during their tour, and make it look like an accident.
What follows is an almost farcical comedy of errors. Rowan likes to study scandalous murders, but he’s never been tempted to commit one himself. Now, in desperate need of ready cash, he accepts the offer and begins plotting. From day one, Susan begins to drive her fellow tourists crazy, so annoying that Rowan begins to think killing her will be a pleasure. Easier said than done. Author McCrumb saves the best bits of the story for the final chapter, by which time your mouth is tired from all that smiling.
Five stars for the enjoyment factor built into every page of this imaginative and competently presented novel.