|frontispiece, the Square (oh! the map!!)|
"the murderer either had his intended victim playing right into his hands, or ... was waiting there like a watchful, blood-lusting spider for some innocent sacrifice to come along."
Even worse, there is a third victim, and yet no one knows if these people had been randomly chosen or if there was some sort of link between the three in a "larger prearranged plan." The killings have caused people to remain in their homes causing havoc for the shopkeepers, and while the police are starting to make connections, the question of who is responsible remains a mystery and leaves the Paulsfield Sniper to remain at large.
As this is my first experience with Clifford Witting's mystery novels, I have no idea whether or not he does this in all of his books, but here he leads the reader on quite a merry chase through the police investigation before we realize at the very end that we've been had in a nice bout of misdirection. And I was fine up until that point, enjoying the mystery, putting the clues together in my head and even taking notes while reading. Normally the author's sort of "gotcha" moment is a good one, meaning that he or she has put together a story whose solution I never would have guessed because I was following the trail of red herrings. And while that happened here, when the killer was disclosed it was so out of left field that I had to go back and reread certain chapters just to try to figure it out. Still, it was fun up to that point so I can't complain too much, but somehow that final moment just didn't seem fair. Be warned that this book ends so abruptly that I was looking for evidence that some of the pages had been torn out of my copy.
Not great, but not bad, sort of middle of the road with an interesting lead character. In my mind, not quite as nicely done as the previous Séptimo Círculo books, but still a good read.