Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Sneeze for Danger by Val McDermid

“Sneeze for Danger” by Val McDermid, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, March/April 2005

The story opens with a police stakeout of a major drug dealer’s apartment. It seem, this guy, Greg Thomas, knows what the Drug Squad is going to do before they do. The logical conclusion is that the Drug Squad has a mole. So the British equivalent of Internal Affairs, popularly called the Scaffies, is called in.

In addition to listening to what goes on in Thomas’ apartment, they also had video surveillance until Thomas plopped a large vase of lilies down in front of the camera. One early morning during the surveillance, Chrissie and his/her partner, Dennis, see a drunk enter the apartment building. It’s cold outside so he is bundled up and unrecognizable. A little while later there is a prolonged bout of sneezing from Thomas’ apartment. The Scaffies don’t think anything more of it until the next morning when the day team, suspicious that Thomas isn’t up and about, discovers him dead in bed with his throat cut.

This puts Chrissie and his/her partner on the spot. How could they let the man get killed while they were supposed to be watching him? After visiting the apartment the next morning, Chrissie has an idea about how to discover the identity of the killer, who he/she believes is a cop, a cop intimately involved with the investigation. Chrissie makes arrangements for a delivery to be made to the squad room during an upcoming meeting. Chrissie is sure that this delivery will cause the mole to expose himself, which it does, but it’s not who Chrissie expects.

This is a well written, well plotted, easy to read story, which is only to be expected from Val McDermid.

In short, Chrissie is smarter than the average bear.


At 8:07 PM, Blogger Candace said...

Bob, I thoroughly enjoyed this story. Have not read a short story by Val McDermid before this one and now am casting about for more.

Great review.

At 10:14 AM, Blogger ibrahim said...

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