A Spider on the Stairs
By Cassandra Chan
Minotaur Books, Hardcover, 9780312369408, 320pp.
Publication Date: July 20, 2010
List Price: $39.99*
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Best friends Phillip Bethancourt, a wealthy man-about-town, and Scotland Yard Detective Sergeant Jack Gibbons are each on their way to Yorkshire over Christmas, though not together, and neither of them are looking forward to their respective trips. While Phillip is returning to his family's estate to spend the holiday with relatives---a dreaded task---Jack must determine whether a particular murder is the work of a serial killer. It looks like it most likely is. As it turns out, Jack isn't on the case for more than a day before the understaffed locals ask him to look in to another.
Jodie Farrady, a former bookshop employee who disappeared about a year ago, is found strangled in that same shop Christmas morning. The modus operandi is similar to the serial killer's, but not exactly the same. It could be a copycat. It could be a coincidence. Either way, Jack could certainly use his good friend's help as he investigates the citizens of a Yorkshire that has suddenly turned quite deadly. Luckily, Phillip is all too eager to escape his own holiday and join the hunt.
"A Spider on the Stairs"---Cassandra Chan's contemporary reimagining of the classic English mystery---is not only a tale that is every bit as delightful and charming as the luminaries in this beloved tradition, but by far its most worthy heir.