PublisherSevern House
Date Published30 August 2019
Price£ 12.99


by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles

A leading literary agent has been found dead – and DCI Bill Slider and his team are under pressure from the powers-that-be to confirm that the death was accidental. Slider’s not so sure, though.


Some writers are like a warm soak in a bubble bath after you’ve had the day from hell. The late and much-missed Stuart Pawson was one for sure. And so’s Cynthia Harrod-Eagles.

Her good-humoured DCI Bill Slider series is up to number 21, and if you’re a long-term fan you’ll know exactly what you’ll be getting; decent, hard-working cops who like each other; a serviceable plot; a tad of personal angst and a flurry of snappy dialogue, corny puns and one-liners.

Top literary agent Ed Wiseman has been found dead after falling from a window at his house. The Borough Commander, who has a personal interest in the case, wants it confirmed as an accidental death. Slider’s not so sure, though.

By all accounts, Wiseman was a nice guy. But then ex-wives, mistresses, sleazy colleagues, and a would-be author with a chip on his shoulder the size of Epping Forest all come waltzing out of the wood panelling.

The top cops, meanwhile, all seem to have personal angst. Slider’s musician partner Joanna is less than enamoured of his childcare contribution. And playboy sidekick DS Jim Atherton may finally be having doubts about his inability to settle down.

Headlong isn’t the most sprightly book in the series. The investigation proceeds in a westerly direction at what might tactfully be called a sedate pace, not helped by a cast of suspects who aren’t terribly distinctive. The thread involving the mysterious Calliope Hunt takes a while to get going and isn’t entirely convincing either – even those of us who spend too much time on social media rolling our eyes at the antics of influencers may think Harrod-Eagles is operating in yoof stereotypes here. The sagas of Slider and Atherton’s private lives didn’t grab me either, but then I may have been in unsympathetic mode (“what do you expect when both parents work full-time?” and “that’s what happens when you can’t keep your dick in your pocket!” respectively).

As always with Harrod-Eagles, though, expect an amiable and undemanding read. And that old warhorse Detective Superintendent Porson and his epic mangling of the English language will never get old!

Reviewed 28 September 2019 by Sharon Wheeler