This book is set in Manchester UK – a grim town as I recall (always raining) and according to Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett in their novel Good Omens, it was created by the demon Crowley as part of his work towards sending humans to Hell [not to mention his slight adjustment of the M25..].
This novel does not encourage you to think that it might be a nice place to visit and be a tourist. It talks about crime families – 4 in Manchester – having ‘carved up’ the town into 4 quarters each holding their own with no inter-gang warfare, but each specialising in drugs, or prostitution, or… but not really guns until this story starts.
I found it a useful introduction to the work of a Coroner’s Office which I had not known – I always assumed that it was part of the offices that dealt with the post-mortem – no doubt confused by TV stories. But here we find out that they stand for the victim and attempt to discover just what happened to them and how the death was investigated, if necessary.
The story makes grim reading as we have a series of deaths and a very ill policeman working for the Coroner’s Office who is charged with assuring the Coroner of her facts as she holds her Inquest into their deaths.
But still compelling and whilst I had guessed some of it, I had not guessed all of the back story which ended up with these particular deaths.
Nick Louth is really getting better – this is best book yet.
The story starts slowly, sedately, lulling you into thinking that you know the storyline, but you don’t.
As the story progresses shocking and unexpected revelations take it to a different and very dark level. This is dark coasts and moors and hills where nasty things happen in the farm woodsheds… And then there is the final page!
The novel is well crafted with logical, if shocking, outcomes that take the story into just what happens in these lonely places, where families have lived a hard scrapple life for many generations, and the neighbours are far away and likely to be feuding. The weather is stormy and dank and cold, and the sun is fleeting and miserly. Not the nice tourist image at all.
Dallas rides again in a New York winter, with a hat with a pompom, which rally embarrasses her, but… there is a murder to be solved and Roarke and his eGeek friends have plenty to do.
Gossip columnists have lots of secrets and they hold secrets on others too it seems, secrets that make them a lot of money and give them a lot of power. So lots of enemies to comb through. Perhaps not quite as original as the earlier books in this series, but still, always worth a read.
As always, Peabody makes us smile, Roarke makes us lust, and we all want to be Dallas. And we’d also quite like that week in the Mexico hideaway she offered Peabody – especially if we fly by one of Roarke’s private planes.
Well not abracadabra of course… What a strange name, but of course, one that is very memorable.
So we have a cosy mystery novel set in a strange village with ghosts and witches and hidden secrets.
At times, I thought I was reading a book for teenagers or for US readers who wanted to have a traditional English village with all the traditional English characters in it. Including funny names and so on.
That said, it was an enjoyable and humorous tale with engaging lead characters – Amanda herself and her feline familiar and the detective who can’t know the real truth about witch-craft, but sort of knows about ghosts.
Very light reading but ..