JILL McGOWN – Murder … Now and Then. [Det. Insp.] Lloyd & [Det. Sgt.] Hill #6. St. Martin’s, US, hardcover, 1993. Fawcett, US, paperback, 1995. First published in the UK by Macmillan, hardcover, 1993.

   How many times do I have to tell you? Jill McGown is one of the best British crime novelists currently writing. I put her in the same class with Reginald Hill and John Harvey, and ahead of Ruth Rendell.

   Now, in 1993, Lloyd is in official attendance at a business ceremony where a new owner is taking over a company. A new manager has been promoted, one very unpopular with the old owner. When the new owner walks in, the new manager’s wife faints. Shortly thereafter, the new manager is caught slapping and berating her. Before the night is ended, murder is done.

   Then, 15 years before, the players set in motion a chain of events that culminate in unsolved murder in that time, and lead to murder in the present. Lloyd and Hill were there at the beginning as they will be at the end when all the sealed boxes are opened.

   McGown is noted (at least by me) for her complex plots, and this is one of her twistiest. Viewpoints and times shift back and forth rapidly, and it’s a mark of her virtuosity that the reader is not left completely at sea. Her prose is terse and straight-forward, but by the end of the story all of the major players have become fully realized people.

   Lloyd (first name unknown) and Judy Hill have over the course of the series become among the most realistic of contemporary cops as human beings, and their relationship equally so. There isn’t anything I dislike about McGown’s Lloyd and Hill books, and they’ve yet to disappoint me. There are damned few series about which I can say those things.

— Reprinted from Ah Sweet Mysteries #11, January 1994.

Bibliographic Note:   There were 13 books in the Lloyd & Hill series, the last being Unlucky for Some (2004)