PATRICIA MOYES – Angel Death. Inspector Henry Tibbett #15. Collins Crime Club, UK, hardcover, 1980. Holt, Rinehart &Winston, US, hardcover, 1981. Henry Holt & Co, US, paperback, 1982.

   Angel Death is a gripping suspense novel set in Moyes’s fictitious group of Caribbean islands. Inspector Henry Tibbett and wife Emmy are on vacation at the small hotel operated by their friends, the Colvilles; they plan a week’s sailing in a rented boat as well. At the Colvilles also is Miss Betsy Sprague, an interesting and lively old lady. On her first leg of the journey back to Britain she unaccountably disappears after making a phone call to tell the Colvilles that she has spotted the daughter of an old friend, a young woman who is supposed to have gone down with her boat.

   Convinced that Betsy has been murdered, the Tibbetts set out to find her killers. In the course of this Henry suddenly changes. His behavior becomes both manic and paranoid. He won’t let Emmy stay on the boat with him; he sends a telegram to Scotland Yard resigning; he takes off sailing with two young couples.

   Does he have a plan which depends on this weird behavior? Or has he been drugged? The Governor and police of the islands suspect him of being subverted by drug smugglers, and issue a warrant for his arrest. While this reader was breathlessly wondering how and when Henry would get back to normal, not one but two hurricanes strike the islands.

   Emmy has an unwonted opportunity to be a detective on her own. Henry turns up on a foundered boat after the first hurricane, his memory for the intervening time confused and mostly lost. The second hurricane brings it back, Together, he and Emmy foil a plot that is much grander than the smuggling of drugs. As usual Moyes brings her people to life and makes all of this wild action seem quite believable.

– Reprinted from The Poison Pen, Volume 6, Number 3 (Fall 1985).