Death of a Tin God (Chief Inspector Littlejohn #36) by George Bellairs

‘Littlejohn wondered where he’d seen the man before.’

Superintendent Littlejohn of Scotland Yard was looking forward to a few days holiday. He’d travelled to Ireland on a missing person case. Clara Tebbs from Shepherd’s Bush had gone missing in Dublin. The Irish police thought they’d found her: an unconscious woman in a city hospital, but she turned out to be someone else. So Littlejohn was pleased to receive a telegram from his old friend the Reverend Caesar Kinrade, Archdeacon of Man, inviting him to drop in for a couple of days on the way back to London. He is on the same plane as Hal Vale the film star, who is on his way to the Isle of Man to make a film with Miss Monique Dol.

When Hal Vale is found dead in his suite at the Carlton Hotel, later that day, local policeman Inspector Knell asks for Superintendent Littlejohn’s assistance. Has Vale taken his own life, was it an accident or has he been murdered? Meanwhile, Ms Dol has fled from the hotel. It seems as though Miss Dol and Mr Vale were about to marry – as soon as his latest divorce was finalised.

In pursuit of Miss Dol, Littlejohn travels via London to Nice where his old friend Inspector Dorange of the Surété assists him. Miss Dol has fled to Nice to see the second of her three husbands: Paul Mauron, a very wealthy and influential man. And then another man is found dead in Miss Dol’s apartment in Nice, just after she left it.

This novel has a quite complicated plot, with several possible suspects and a selection of different motives. I kept reading, keen to find out who murdered Vale and why. There are a couple of twists and a quite dramatic scene near the end which had me wondering whether Littlejohn himself would survive.

I’ve only read a couple of the Inspector Littlejohn novels so far and look forward to reading more.

Note: My thanks to NetGalley and Agora Books for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith