Allen & Unwin, $32.99 pb, 364 pp
Barry Maitland’s Dark Mirror, the tenth instalment in his Brock and Kolla series, sees newly promoted DI Kathy Kolla on the trail of a poisoner. Despite numerous references to the Pre-Raphaelites, laudanum addiction and arsenic, Dark Mirror does not exude the gritty Victorian Gothic atmosphere its subject matter and central crime evoke. Instead, the reader is presented with a murder investigation often bogged down by the realities of police work. This sense of realism is countered by some remarkable coincidences; scenes that appear tangential end up having profound consequences.