Written by Ian Simpson — Ian Simpson was a criminal defence barrister at the Scottish bar and later became a judge, rising as to the High Court. He made his literary debut back in 2008 with Murder on Page One, which was short listed for the Debut Dagger by the Crime Writers’ Association that year. Murder on the Second Tee is his second crime novel and continues Inspector No series, which features the detectives Flick Fortune and Bagawath Chandavarkar – AKA Baggo.
As the title suggests, man’s body has been found by a green keeper at the second tee of famous Old Course at St Andrews. The victim, a London banker called Hugh Parsley, was staying at the nearby hotel along with other senior members of the Bucephalus Bank. Flick Fortune, newly transferred to the force at nearby Cupar, and elevated to the rank of DI, is called in to lead the investigation.
The cause of death is quickly determined. Hugh Parsley was bludgeoned to death by an as yet unidentified right-handed assailant, with a golf club – a putting iron to be precise. It soon becomes apparent that more than one of his companions could have reason enough to dispatch him. Up at the hotel, the questioning of the suspects begins and Flick spots her old DC, Baggo Chandavarkar, working undercover as a waiter and conducting his own investigation into possible criminal activity at Bucephalus Bank. This includes money laundering and the recent suspicious death of the bank’s chairman, Sir Paul Monmouth. Could they relate to potential motives for killing Hugh Parsley?
Flick’s investigation doesn’t appear to be making any progress but she’s ruffling plenty of feathers, and being threatened with being kicked off the case. To make matters worse, her old boss, Inspector No – Noel Osborne – has arrived in St Andrews and is conducting an investigation of his own, apparently at the instigation of someone at Bucephalus Bank. The only certainty is that whatever dodgy dealings have been going on, Hugh Parsley was involved, and one of his co-conspirators is responsible for his death. Then there’s a second killing. Are the deaths linked? If so, how?
Murder on the Second Tee is a nicely constructed police procedural with the odd light-hearted moment thanks to the presence of Baggo Chandavarkar. Baggo and Flick may have different detecting styles but they’re both highly competent coppers, and extremely likeable characters. Flick is determined to do things by the book, but realises she needs to exert a modicum of flexibility, whereas Baggo knows how to get the results he needs without crossing too many lines. He’s less rigid, is a good observer of detail, and knows how to turn a situation to his advantage without upsetting too many people. Definitely a series to watch out for from a new talent on the crime writing scene.
CFL Rating: 5 Stars