Publisher: Headline | Publication date: 31st December 2015
Dead in the Water is the fourth outing in the series of ‘Campbell and Carter’. Although I haven’t read its predecessors I wasn’t lost for a single moment, as this remarkably well-written murder mystery unfolds at a leisurely pace, yet still leaves you with absolutely no idea as to whodunit until the very end.
Certain elements conjure a ‘Midsummer Murder-ish’ feel throughout. There’s a famous writer who relocated to the Cotswold village of Weston St Ambrose, hoping the idyllic rural life would coax his next best seller from his head and onto the blank pages staring back at him. For the most part he wanders around his garden raking leaves into neat little piles, much to the dismay of his wife.
Then we have the writers’ circle he mentors, where every quirky member has their own opinion of events taking place and frequently become disgruntled when their own works of wordiness are criticised.
Just to throw the whole village equilibrium into disarray, the body of an unidentified young woman is found floating in the swollen river, and this is where we meet our crime busters – Jess Campbell and Ian Carter – as they are called in to investigate how she came to be in the water. Did she fall? Was she pushed? More importantly, who on earth IS she?
…Twiggy hands caught at her clothing but the current did not want to be deprived of its plaything. It began to worry at the body, trying to pull it loose. The moon disappeared again and left them to their dispute in darkness…
Well, after a little bit of witness tussling it turns out our victim is the local villain’s daughter, which, let’s be honest, isn’t entirely good news. Main reason being he’s currently serving time for extreme menacing behaviour and is now hell-bent on discovering who is responsible, so he can take matters into his own hands, so to speak. Things could get very ugly indeed.
Weston St Ambrose is hiding more than the flood waters are covering up when it turns out that most of the residents seem to know the victim in one way or another. But Campbell and Carter make a ruddy marvellous team to root the culprit out, I must say. There’s no die hard heroics, nor a sniff of profanity, just tidy police work that I’m mightily impressed by. And it’s a relief to find there’s none of this repetitive drumming of character’s job titles down your throat with ‘Inspector Jess Campbell this’ and ‘Superintendent Ian Carter that’. The duo are generally referred to by their Christian names, which not only makes them more human it suits the style and grace of the story much better.
For me, quaint places never fail to make the most lethal backdrops and this was no exception. Dead in the Water is a quality village mystery yarn, spun with absolute class.
(Courtesy of publisher’s press release)
The Cotswold village of Weston St Ambrose is facing the wettest winter on record and, as the river bursts its banks, as dead girl is seen floating downstream. Called in to investigate, Inspector Jess Campbell discovers that the body is that of Courtney Higson, the barmaid who served at the local writer’s club dinner. They’d all known her – some better than others – but surely one of them wasn’t contemplating murder.
Superintendent Ian Cater sympathises with Teddy Higson’s grief at losing his beloved daughter. But Teddy’s a local villain, released from prison on compassionate grounds, and Ian and Jess know they must act quickly to find Courtney’s killer before Teddy takes the law into his own hands…
Aaaand I couldn’t resist including covers for the complete ‘Campbell and Carter’ mystery series (so far, that is!) because, well, they’re a bit special, aren’t they?
(Courtesy of publisher’s Press release)
Ann Granger has lived in cities all over the world, since for any years she worked for the foreign office and received postings to British embassies as far apart as Munich and Lusaka. She is now permanently based in Oxfordshire.
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