Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Book & Audio Review: To Play the Fool by Laurie R. King

To Play the Fool

Laurie R. King
Narrator: Alyssa Bresnahan
Series: A Kate Martinelli Mystery (Book 2)
Publication: Minotaur Books (April 1, 2010); Macmillan Audio (January 21, 2014)
Length: 272 p,; 9 hours and 14 minutes

Description: The story unfolds as a band of homeless people cremate a beloved dog in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. When it comes to incidents like this, the authorities are willing to overlook a few broken regulations. But three weeks later, after the dog's owner gets the same fiery send-off, the SFPD knows it has a serious problem on its hands.

Other than the fact that they're dealing with a particularly grisly homicide, Inspector Kate Martinelli and her partner, Al Hawkin, have little else to go on. They have a homeless victim without a positive ID, a group of witnesses who have little love for the cops, and a possible suspect, known only as Brother Erasmus.

Kate learns that Erasmus is well-acquainted with the park's homeless and with the rarefied atmosphere of Berkeley's Graduate Theological Union, yet he remains an enigma to all. It's apparent that he is by no means crazy--but he is a fool. Kate begins the frustrating task of interrogating a man who communicates only through quotations. Trying to learn something of his history leads her along a twisting road to a disbanded cult, long-buried secrets, the thirst for spirituality, and the hunger for bloody vengeance.

My Thoughts: This second Kate Martinelli mystery begins with the cremation of a dog in the park by a group of homeless people. But when the same group attempts the cremation of the dog's owner three weeks later the police are called in. When it is determined that the death was murder, Martinelli and Hawkin are assigned the case. 

They have an unidentified victim known only as John, a bunch of homeless witnesses with varying mental illnesses, and a mysterious character known as Brother Erasmus. Brother Erasmus is a beloved character among the homeless and also well-known across the bay at Berkeley's Graduate Theological Union, and among the entertainers at Fisherman's Wharf. He is a man of mystery who only speaks in quotations.

Interviewing him is an exercise in frustration for Kate and Al. But as they try to uncover his past, they discover information about the defunct Fools' Movement and a tragic past. There was a lot about the religious implications of being a Fool which was intriguing. 

Kate and Lee are still dealing with the aftereffects of Lee's shooting which ended the previous book as Lee is in therapy to overcome her paralysis. Kate had been on leave to help her; this is only her second case since she's been back as an active homicide detective. 

The characters were all intriguing. I loved the setting of the story. It was also an engaging mystery.

Favorite Quote:
No, she did not like cozying up to that old man in order to pry him loose from his secure rest; she was honest enough with herself to admit that she felt dirty using his affection against him. Feeling dirty was, of course, an occupational hazard and so far it had never kept her from doing her job.

But, all in all, she would much rather play bad cop.
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the review. i must try to get to one in this series as I do so like the genre as well.


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