My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Dark Mirror is my first exposure to the Kolla/Brock mystery series. A brilliant grad student, the beautiful Marion Summers, dies in ghastly fashion in the middle of the exclusive London Library. Marion was poised to present a shocking new theory about the Pre-Raphaelite artists and their women, and the role that arsenic played in their entangled lives and deaths. When arsenic poisoning is ID’d as the cause of Marion’s, DCI Brock assigns newly promoted DI Kathy Kolla to this very puzzling case. There is no dearth of obvious suspects; Marion had some hidden entanglements of her own.
The story that unravels is one of the strongest police procedurals I’ve ever had the pleasure to read. Author Maitland injects just enough detail into each main character, good guys and bad, to make them known as individuals with secrets and motives of their own. As facets of their professional and personal lives become clear, the mystery itself becomes more complex. Yet never does the plot become overly contrived, or the characters act or react in ways that strain credulity. Dark Mirror, in 329 quickly turning pages, contains everything that lovers of intelligent, intriguing mysteries could hope for. I’ll be looking for more of Maitland’s work.