Charles Todd: Proof of Guilt Sunday, Feb 10 2013 

000290326In their fifteenth outing together, mother-and-son team Caroline and Charles Todd follow Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge into the countryside in search of a murderer in Proof of Guilt.

Those new to the series learn enough of his back-story and WWI experience to understand his personal demons and the reason for the ever-present Hamish, the voice who alternately guides and chides the detective, just over his shoulder and always out of sight.

Readers familiar with the series will enjoy Rutledge’s careful but frustrating investigation. His sister Frances, whom Rutledge has come to depend upon for companionship in his darker days, has her own surprising news.

This time Rutledge is dealing with getting to know his new Acting Chief Superintendent, a man who decides on a course based on reading reports and refuses to listen to Rutledge’s instinctual alternate theories. At times it seems the Super is deliberately thwarting Rutledge in his investigation.

When a car runs over the body of young man, the heirloom pocket watch found on him is the only clue to his identity. It soon becomes apparent the man did not die on the quiet but dignified street where he was found, but was dumped there.

Is this a clue to who he is, or a warning to someone living on that street?

The search for the man’s identity leads Rutledge to the co-owner of a Madeira wine company. Lewis French has gone missing, but it’s not his body on the slab in the morgue. Then how did the dead man end up with French’s watch?

And where is Lewis French?

Rutledge finds French’s sister to be an angry and jealous person who had quarreled with her brother just before his disappearance; his fiancee` seems less concerned than she might be. He also finds himself drawn to the man’s former jilted fiancee`. There seem to be plenty of people who might want French dead.

But if French is dead, where is his body? And how does a second disappearance of a war veteran tie in?

The time period necessitates a slower pace, as Rutledge must navigate by his own motor car to the various country villages outside London that eat into his precious time to follow the slender threads he uncovers.

This is not a fast-paced thriller but more the deliberate and tenacious unraveling of a plot with fingers lasting decades. Rutledge must find evidence to trap the killer before he becomes the latest victim.

 

Lynda LaPlante: Blood Line Sunday, Nov 18 2012 

Prime Suspect‘s Lynda LaPlante is back with a new Anna Travis novel.

Blood Line follows Anna’s new case as a DCI, heavily watched over with increasing annoyance to her by her mentor and former lover, Superintendent James Langton.

Her first case was a slam dunk that she made her way through numbly, dealing with the aftermath of the death of her fiance`. The pacing here is different from the usual murder novel, as the case starts out as something entirely different and meanders its way into a murder investigation, when a court clerk whose son has disappeared asks Anna to look into the case. Langton concurs, trying to give Anna time to grieve before getting her feet under her in a real murder case.

Alan Rawlins is a good-looking chap, engaged to be married to salon owner Tina Brooks. A shy gentleman, Alan’s sudden disappearance has his father and fiancee` stumped.

Anna’s initial interviews reveal nothing specific. At first glance, Alan is a paragon of virtue, with savings in the bank and a steady job. Tina arrived home from her salon one day after he’d come home early from work with a migraine to find Alan gone; it is his father who insisted a Missing Person’s report be filed when there’s no word from Alan after two weeks.

Meeting Tina for the first interview leaves Anna with a gut feeling something is wrong. The flat is too neat, compulsively so. And despite supposedly in the midst of shopping for a wedding dress and ordering invitations, Tina shows little emotion when discussing her missing partner, stating she feels he’s gone off with another woman. At first Anna feels it’s possible Alan has taken off to escape marriage to Tina and the pressures of his mother’s dementia, especially when a potential second source of income is identified.

Then a better search of the apartment Alan and Tina shared turns up evidence of a blood pool behind the head of the bed, and more Luminol work shows a massive cleanup in the bathtub as the full-scale murder investigation swings into action.

Despite the evidence, the question of the identity of the victim becomes an issue. Someone was murdered in that flat, but just who it was becomes more and more difficult to establish in a series of twists that have Anna, under pressure to solve the case, becoming almost obsessed with all the trails she finds. And over it all, Langton is watching her like a hawk.
The book follows the extensive details and delays of real police work, from waiting for forensic reports to traveling to interview witnesses, always with the budget in mind. Anna also deals with the personalities of her hastily-thrown together team.

LaPlante’s lack of contractions may take some readers aback as it gives her dialogue a more formal feel; but it also serves to keep the British tone in the reader’s ear. This edition comes through the new line of mysteries from HarperCollins, Bourbon Street books.

Lee Lofland

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The Graveyard Shift

S L Hollister, author

Welcome to Leeward

Liz Loves Books

The Wonderful World of Reading

The Life of Guppy

the care and feeding of our little fish

dru's book musings

Reading is a wonderful adventure!

JoHanna Massey

"I tramp the perpetual journey." Walt Whitman

MiddleSisterReviews.com

(mid'-l sis'-tǝr) n. the reader's favorite sister

My train of thoughts on...

Smile! Don't look back in anger.

K.R. Morrison, Author

My author site--news and other stuff about books and things

The Wickeds

Wicked Good Mysteries

John Bainbridge Writer

Indie Writer and Publisher

Some Days You Do ...

Writers & Writing, my own & other people's; movies, art, music & the search for a perfect flat white - the bits & pieces of a writing life.

Gaslight Crime

Authors and reviewers of historical crime fiction

Crimezine

#1 for Crime

Mellotone70Up

John Harvey on Books & Writing - his own & other people 's - Art, Music, Movies, & the elusive search for the perfect Flat White.

A thrilling Murder-Mystery...

...now being made into a radio drama

Past Offences: Classic crime, thrillers and mystery book reviews

The best mystery and crime fiction (up to 1987): Book and movie reviews