Benny was baffled. These were not academics; there were no tweed jackets with leather patches on the arms, all beards were neatly trimmed and the conversation was bawdily macho rather than shriekingly bitchy. As she waded into the decrepit melee, she looked around her for a flash of corduroy, a hint of brogue in the elderly throng. The hotel bar was large but low slung, with the precise shabbiness that comes of trying to deliberately give your hostelry a 'lived in' feeling.I really liked this, and I write as one who has often bounced off Lance Parkin's work (and sometimes Mark Clapham's). Mars, whose history was the foundation of Bernice Summerfield's early career, has become both a home for the elderly (due to low gravity) and a centre of commemoration (due to war). Benny gets involved with dangerous investigations into what really happened, complicated by a rekindling of affection for her disreputable ex-husband and various strange individuals each with their own agenda. There is even a sentient computer which failed to annoy me as they usually do. I must have been in a good mood when reading it.
Next in this sequence: Where Angels Fear, by my old friend Rebecca Levene in collaboration with Simon Winstone.