Jane Casey’s newest Maeve Kerrigan mystery, Let the Dead Speak, brings the homicide detective her strangest case yet.

Maeve is saddled with a new detective constable who rubs her wrong, whilst trying to navigate things between the DC and her unpredictable DI, Josh Derwent, and as always, trying to appease her prickly DCI, Una Burt. On a quiet residential street in Putney, a horrific crime scene–blood splatters walls and stairs and is dotted on the ceiling–is missing one key component: the victim.

Chloe Emery is the 18-yr-old daughter of the owner, Kate Emery, who hasn’t been seen in a few days. With Chloe off visitng her father and his new family, she’s returned early from this visit to find the grissly scene.

Chloe is bundled off to a friend’s house to stay. Chloe staunchly refuses to return to her father’s house, with stories of abuse at the hands of her stepbrother.The religious Norris family act suspiciously to Maeve, but Chloe is being taken care of by them and her friend, Bethany.

In the neighborhood lives a charismatic youth, who is believed to have gotten away with stabbing a schoolfriend, and attracts and befriends both of the girls. There is the cleric of the Norris’ church, who sets off warning bells in Maeve’s intuition, too.

It’s a complicated situation as Maeve and her team investigate Kate Emory’s life. It’s obvious that people are lying to them, but who and why? The complex plot unspools gradually through dedicated police work and Maeve’s keen insights. And always, she is trying to balance juggling Derwent who remains exasperating and yet Maeve’s biggest supporter knows her all too well.

Auntie M is a huge fan of this character-driven series, with just the right amount of eccentricity mixing with reality. Casey has done a grand job of giving readers a story they will have to figure out as she does–there’s plenty of twists and surprises. The strong development of the players will leave readers flipping pages as the suspense builds to the surprising ending. Highly recommended.