The Iron Sickle
A George Sueño and Ernie Bascom Mystery by Martin Limón
Review: On a Monday morning in October, at about seven when most of the Korean work force rushed through Gate 5 at the Yongsan Compound, a killer also rushed in. Although he was taller than most Koreans, a couple of inches short of six feet, no one seemed to notice. He wore a black overcoat over a suit and he had an iron sickle hidden in his sleeve. The receptionist enters the office of Mr. C. Winston Barretsford, a civilian and the head of the 8th Army Claims Office, followed by the killer. The man slid the sickle down to his hand and with one quick move slashes Barretsford across his neck, killing him instantly, in The Iron Sickle, the ninth mystery in this series featuring George Sueño and Ernie Bascom, investigators for the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) of the United States 8th Army in Seoul, by Martin Limón.
With the victim being a civilian, the Korean National Police believes they should be in control, but the Commander of the 8th Army insists that they would take charge of the investigation. With Sueño and Bascom's record of solving crimes on and off the base, and Sueño's knowledge of Koreans and their language, it was assumed by the pair that they would have a part in this investigation. But for some reason they are assigned to black market duty, a job much below their expertise. Still, being the agents they are, they set out to investigate the crime on their own. Shortly thereafter a U.S. Army M.P., Corporal Collingsworth, is also killed, slashed in the throat with the iron sickle. His partner is injured by a blow to the head, but not killed. What did the killer have against these two men. Did he purposely seek them out? During the investigation Sueño and Bascom come across a secret action between North and South Korea that, if revealed, would cause a crisis among rival nations, even twenty years after the cease fire in Korea.
Set in the mid-1970s, two decades after the armistice agreement was signed dividing Korea into two countries, a mystery unfolds that may date back to that period in the 1950s. Sueño and Bascom, two of the more interesting investigators in current crime fiction, question the orders of their superiors and risk their lives to find the answers. The Iron Sickle with its unique and engaging storyline is a fine and compelling entry in this historical series.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of The Iron Sickle.
Acknowledgment: Soho Press provided an ARC of The Iron Sickle for this review.
Review Copyright © 2014 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Soho Crime (Hardcover), September 2013
ISBN-13: 9781616953324; ISBN-10: 1616953322
Location(s) referenced in The Iron Sickle: South Korea
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The Iron Sickle by Martin Limón — A George Sueño and Ernie Bascom Mystery
Publisher: Soho Crime
Publication Date: August 2014
List Price: $26.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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