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10 thoughts on “The Killing of Katie Steelstock

  1. says:

    I venture only occasionally into the massive pile of literature categorized roughly as Mysteries and I never fail to realize anew how varied they can be never mind how entertaining True aficionados of the genre know all the subcategories it seems and I’ve never paid much attention to those niceties But I am coming to appreciate that I really like a good police proceduralKatie Steelstock a television star spent the weekend in her home village where she met her untimely demise The cast of village characters seems to offer some choices for the culprit but unsurprisingly the citizens are mostly upstanding civil and surely not inclined to murder The Killing of Katie Steelstock features the sleuthing of Charlie Knott who sees this high profile murder as his ticket to a promotion Naturally the reader is suspicious of Charlie If this is a murder mystery worthy of its name he’s on the wrong track right? This is a grand mystery in the great English tradition and the clues must eventually yield a surprise Although I knew that I did not guess correctly; for his successful ruse I thank and commend the author No great social purpose here just a few hours of engrossing entertainmentThis was a lovely airplane book If you have to sit for a few hours in a cramped seat with bad air and peanuts this book would be a fine companion

  2. says:

    This is a police procedural not a detective story chronicling policemen and solicitors accumulating evidence that eventually reveals the criminal There is no Hercule Poirot here displaying inspired rationcination In vastly preferring detective stories I'm of course biased but The Killing of Katie Steelstock is an extremely well orchestrated tale of bloodhound work with three or four characters I wouldn't have minded reading about

  3. says:

    very good until the end which made no sense to me

  4. says:

    The Killing of Katie Steelstock 1980 is a fine police procedural by Michael Gilbert set in a small town in England Katie Steelstock is the local girl who made good by becoming a TV sensation But she still lives mostly at home in West Hannington and comes back to attend the local Tennis Boat Club dance Her regular chauffeur Tony Windle is unable to provide the expected ride when a prankster puts his car and a few others out of commission so Katie has to provide her own transportation She makes a good showing at the dance but leaves earlier than her friends and neighbors expect and they all figure she's gone off to meet a boyIt looks like her romance went sour when the man who serves as caretaker for the club finds her body near the boathouse a popular spot for those wanting a bit of privacy The obvious suspect is her on again off again boyfriend Jonathan Limery Jonathan isn't terribly popular with the local police as it is he's a hotheaded journalist who likes to incite unrest among the younger set and has no good words for law enforcement With Katie's ties to influential people in London Chief Superintendent Knott from Scotland Yard's Murder Suad is on the spot sooner than might be normal in such an investigation He and his crew find a note that points to Jonathan and when the journalist produces a poor alibi and tops things off with resisting arrest stabbing a copper in the process it looks like Knott has found his man in record timeBut even as Knott is preparing his evidence for Jonathan's trial young Sergeant McCourt of the local force continues looking for ties to a completely different suspect He's uite sure that a local bigwig Mr George Mariner has to answer for than Jonathan ever could Two coppers with single minded efforts Knott has his eye on a promotion a promotion that will be his for the taking if he can swiftly and cleanly wrap up this high profile case And McCourt has an axe to grind with his favorite suspect is he deliberately misreading evidence to hang an innocent man?Also up for consideration are a few promising clues from Katie's London life and the appearance of a mystery man in West Hannington on the very night of the murder Then another body is foundthis time floating in the river and the police surgeon notes that the wound is similar to that on Katie's head The fact that it's a man connected with a sleazy photographer from London with connections to Katie doesn't faze Knott or McCourt a bit The defending counsel has a few surprises up her sleeve as well and it isn't until they all meet in court that the truth will finally come out Who really killed Katie Steelstock? Was it Jonathan? Was it McCourt's favorite George Mariner? Was it someone who followed Katie down from London? Or was it someone else?This small town police procedural does an excellent job weaving tensions among the characters tensions between the suspects tensions between the local coppers and the Scotland Yard men and tensions between the suspects and the police Gilbert uses dialogue and setting to fully flesh out a cast of very believable villagers internal police rivalries and the rivalry between Knott and the defending counsel a lady who would like nothing better than to watch Knott fall flat on his face in court He manages to pull off uite a few surprises though I must say I found myself with the right suspect before he produced the grand finale at court The pacing is excellent and the story merges modern for 1980 police practices with the classic mystery formFirst posted on my blog My Reader's Block Please reuest permission before reposting Thanks

  5. says:

    When I read this Michael Gilbert classic some 40 years ago I hated it It was the first mystery I read where the killer was a character I liked On re reading it I can appreciate the master craftsman who created it I still hate the ending but now I better understand whyThe tale begins with the murder of a fresh faced young TV star named Katie Steelstock our Katie as she is known to her public DI Knott the detective inspector assigned the case uickly focuses on a suspect an ex beau of Katie's who had a very public falling out with the lady in uestion But as the investigation proceeds sordid details emerge There's a justice of the peace who is a voyeur and perhaps into pornography; a photographer who holds orgies and drugs attendees so he can stage them performing obscene acts; a boy who is having an affair with a journalist Katie herself is revealed to be bitchy and manipulative she may even have been a blackmailer The police prove to be interested in proving their case then proving it against the right suspect And the counsel for the defense just wants to score one against DI Knott an old adversary In the end very few people come away as being entirely admirable That makes the downfall of one particular good guy all the harder to takeGilbert unveils his plot slowly sucking in the reader until in the final pages one is left feeling a bit soiled by the whole affair It's not a pretty picture of imperfect Justice One is reminded that Gilbert was a solicitor in London's courts; who were his models for this story? This is a must read for Gilbert fans Just beware of becoming too attached to any character herein The ending is most unsatisfactory but feels all too much like reality

  6. says:

    The copyright on this book is 1980 which doesn't seem all that old when one considers how modern the attitudes in most of Gilbert's books are regardless of copyright dateSo the premise here for the motive doesn't seem like all that big a deal no one kills someone else out of prudishness Elements of Agatha Christie especially spoiler alert with respect to the identity of the murderer

  7. says:

    While it's obviously the case that even a merely adeuate Michael Gilbert novel is better than most of the competition I nevertheless felt a tad disappointed by thisPart of my disappointment was not in the slightest the fault of the book I was encouraged to read The Killing Of Katie Steelstock by a blogger's book review That review was I assume deliberately really uite misleading As a result when I worked out uite early on who the baddy must be I assumed this was some kind of a red herring It was very annoying to discover at the end of the book that my humble deduction had been uite correct When reading mysteries I don't give a damn if the author successfully bamboozles me through the literary euivalent of misdirection and deceit in fact the I'm bamboozled the better but I do get pissed off when a book's reviewer lays a false trail GrrAside from that The Killing Of Katie Steelstock is a fairly standard mystery novel in which the celebrated daughter of a small southern English town gets an unfortunately fatal comeuppance I laughed aloud in a lot of places because Gilbert even in his shabbier novels had that marvelous wit But I still wished I'd instead been rereading for the nth time his Smallbone Deceased

  8. says:

    Young Katie Steelstock back in her home village of Hannington from her TV role in London as Britain's sweetheart is brutally murdered after a small town dance Her lover stands accused but not so fast as other bodies begin to pile up One of Gilbert's grimmer efforts as in maybe he went one death too far or maybe I mean one death short but exuisitely well written as per usual and the scenes in the courtroom are simply superb Mrs Bellamy had brought out a pair of old fashioned pince nez glasses which she perched on her nose alternately looking through them at her notes and over them at the witness There was something mesmeric about the bobbing up and down of her head Like a wasp eating marmalade whispered Mrs HavelockNobody ever did it better than Gilbert I'm glad he was so prolific that I'm still discovering books by him I haven't read

  9. says:

    A mystery headed up by dueling leads the main one being Insp Knott The book is well done but it is a twisting winding story making it just a bit exhausting to remember all the threads and people and placesI read it thinking this must be what it's really like Mind numbing detailed work where slivers of truth appear here and there amongst opinion and faulty memoriesThe culprit is a very cleaver and specific person And the people in the story are a bit grounded than others I've read from Gilbert I believe this may have been translated also to filmtv at some point

  10. says:

    I became interested in Gilbert's books when I borrowed one from Toni's burgeoning shelves during a visit That one was Be Shot for Sixpence and I really liked it That was of a '50s spy thriller type book This one written much later in Gilbert's career is a formulaic British police murder mystery and suffered for that and its early '80s datedness