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Monday 9 January 2017

‘End of the Roadie’ by Elizabeth Flynn

Published by Lion Fiction,
15 July 2016.
ISBN: 978-1-78264-205-3 (PB)

Popular rock musician Brendan Phelan is performing at the Apollo Theatre at the last show of his highly successful tour. After the show, fans gather as near as they can to the stage door in the hope of seeing their idol. Amongst them is Detective Constable Gary Houseman, accompanying his girlfriend, Maddie. When a shot rings out, Gary is right on the spot. He forces his way past the bouncers and discovers Brendan standing there, clearly traumatised, while at his feet is the body of Oliver Joplin, a member of Brendan’s road crew.

From the angle of the shot, it is clear that Brendan could not have shot Oliver, moreover the weapon is missing. However, it is extremely unlikely that anybody else could have fired the shot and got out of sight before Gary arrived on the scene. This crime has all the hallmarks of a ‘locked room mystery’ and, from the beginning, Gary is distracted by memories of a conjuring trick he had seen when he was a child.

Detective Inspector Angela Costello, Gary Houseman and the rest of her team have to look at the movements of the large number of people involved in Brendan’s tour and discover their relationships with the dead man. It becomes clear that Oliver was the most unpopular man amongst the roadies. He was lazy, manipulative and not particularly good at his job, and it was only because of Brendan’s insistence that he continued to be employed on the tours.

Brendan is a star, worshipped by thousands of fans, but he is also a thoroughly nice guy, and Angela finds herself liking him. As she probes to uncover the secret that gave Oliver a hold over Brendan, she realises that it is possible that Brendan hired a hitman, although this does not explain how the shooter escaped before Gary arrived. Angela also has to consider whether the killer was aiming at Brendan and hit Oliver by mistake, and whether she should provide Brendan with police protection. Angela knows that she and her team have to act quickly and discover the truth before Brendan loses, at best, his reputation and, at worst, his life.

End of the Roadie is the third book in the DI Angela Costello series but it is also a successful stand-alone novel, with relationships and backstory touched upon lightly so that it does not slow the pace of the story. The plot is clever but marked out fairly, with all the clues in place. The characterisation is delightful, not only are the central detective characters likeable, so are many of the suspects and, to my surprise, I found myself so involved that I was hoping they were not the guilty parties. End of the Roadie is an exceptionally pleasurable read and one that I would recommend.
Reviewer by Carol Westron

Elizabeth Flynn is a Londoner of Anglo-Irish parentage. An ex-actress she currently works in a hospital. However she has always written and has a particular interest in crime fiction. For several years she has also been a keen tennis fan and is very happy that her first novel is a murder mystery set in the tennis world.

Photograph by John Goodman

Carol Westron is a successful short story writer and a Creative Writing teacher.  She is the moderator for the cosy/historical crime panel, The Deadly Dames.  Her crime novels are set both in contemporary and Victorian times.  The Terminal Velocity of Cats is the first in her Scene of Crimes novels, was published July 2013. Her latest book The Fragility of Poppies was published 10 June 2016.

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