Remarkably this is the 36th mystery featuring Jonathan Kellerman’s sleuthing psychologist Alex Delaware, in a series that began in 1985. The events in Serpentine start a few years before then, with the discovery of the body of a woman in a burnt-out car below Mulholland Drive, Los Angeles. Decades later, her entrepreneur daughter wants to learn what happened to the mother she knows only from photographs. Delaware helps his usual partner, the police lieutenant Milo Sturgis, to thaw this coldest of cases.
It’s a joy of a book, but a little joy. Given we know that Lyra will be off gallivanting across Europe soon, there is no sense of threat, and as such it will make a delightful Christmas gift. I should add it was originally a handwritten manuscript, auctioned for fundraising for the National Theatre, so it does good as well as being good.