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As I read so many books I am always on the look out for more at affordable prices. I tend to find either Charity shops or Car Boot Sales are ideal to get good quality, inexpensive novels. I found this book at a Car Boot sale where I bought a couple of crime thrillers for just 50p.
==About the author:==
Peter Turnbull was born in England in 1950. In a very successful writing career he has notched up 36 novels. The majority of which have been in the following two series. The first is the ten books that form the P. Davison series these were published between 1981 and 1998. While the second series features Hennessey and Yellich as the investigating officers, there are 18 in this series with one planned for later this year.
==Synopsis of the book:==
A badly burnt body is discovered in the woods in early December. Police have hardly got the body moved for the pathology department, when another body is discovered in another woods close by but in a similar state. Immediately the Police realise this can be no coincidence and the problem of identifying begins.
Luckily the bodies are not completely charred and Pathology are able to advice the Police that they were a middle age male and female and that they both had a curry a few hours before their death, which was within the last 24 hours. With this information and the likelihood that they were together they approached all the local Curry Houses in the nearest town of York.
The investigation team headed by DCI Hennessey and Sergeant Yellich quickly found the place and learnt they were regulars at the place and their name was Mr and Mrs Dent. They were successful Chartered Accountants with their own company. The first job now for the Police is to break the news to the family and see if they can piece together their last movements and find out who would kill these much liked and respected couple.
==My thoughts on this novel:==
I really enjoyed this well thought out and devised Detective thriller. It was a very short novel with only 168 pages and initially I wondered if a story this short would be any good. As I was concerned that it would lack a decent meaningful story and the depth would not be there. However I am pleased to say this was one of the better Detective stories I have read this year and depth was not a problem at all.
In truth I was really looking for a good thriller that I could read in a matter of a few days. Although the thickness of the story really worried me at least if I didn't like it I hadn't lost much by purchasing it. I didn't need to worry, as in most respects this was a first class novel.
This is the second book I have read in this series, recently I read 'Sweet Humphrey' which was written the same year as this novel. I found that story enjoyable, as it was different as DCI Hennessey met up with a serial killer who wanted to confess to other crimes in the first one. So I knew a little about what to expect from the author and a little about the investigating officers.
The first thing that struck me about this novel was the books cover. I thought it was unusual to have a picture of some bare but lit up trees on the cover, I had no idea what it signified but it looked fascinating.
I checked the summary on the inside cover. It was a good size and contained enough detail to get me hooked on it. I liked the questions the detail brought up including bringing up a suspect from the family at the outset of the story and these two unusual sounding officer that were going to investigate them.
As soon as I started the story I was confronted by something I had not seen before. At the start of each chapter you were as usual told the number of it, but also two unusual features. The first was the date and time the chapter covered; I found this quite useful especially the date as it allowed me to see how long it had been since the crime. I'm not so sure if the times helped though it seemed an odd thing to do and didn't help me with the story at all.
The second feature was a line of text that told you what happens during the chapter. I found this annoying as it shared with the reader the most important fact that happened in the chapter. For me it ruined things to know in advance what was going to happen and reduced the suspense that the author was trying to create. I would have preferred just the original chapter number unoriginal maybe but for me that concept works.
I guess because the shortness of the story the action needed to start from the first page and it did with the discovery of the first charred body. Two things immediately stuck me, firstly the interesting and well-written character that found the first body. As a result I wanted to know more about him and his life. The second was the body couldn't be immediately identified, I found I was intrigued and I wanted to know who it was and what had happened to them. It concerned me that someone could be burnt alive but I was relieved to find that they were only burnt after they had been killed.
The story was very easy to get into and once there I had no reason or desire to leave it. This was one of the few stories I did not want to finish as I enjoyed it from cover to cover. And despite being short it was rich in depth, which surprised me as I thought detail would be missing but I was very pleasantly impressed by it.
I found the investigation to be well put together, interesting and totally believable. I liked the way the two senior officers worked well together, while at other times they interviewed suspects on their own. But always they shared information with eachother and reiterated the points to remind the reader what had happened and exactly where they were in the investigation.
The story often surprised and impressed me with its unpredictability. As I thought given the size of the book that it would be a routine murder enquiry, with the Detectives piecing the clues together quite easily. However I was so impressed when what appeared as routine investigation was totally turned on its head by dramatic developments. It certainly caught me out and added a new dimension to what was already a very good story.
I did have two complaints about the story but they were not showstoppers. The first was I would have liked more suspects within the investigation as this would have added to the suspense and widened the net for me. Although if the author had done this the length of the story would ultimately increased, which for me would have been great and added to the mystery.
My other criticism was I thought the story was wound up very quickly. I thought as a result of this the story lacked the excitement and fast paced conclusion very often associated with thrillers. Although I thought this was an honest reflection of Police work as it can't all be like that. As a result I felt a little let down by it, but I enjoyed the outcome to the investigation and all the facts did add up and make sense so it was properly the correct thing to do, but it didn't stop me feel a little cheated.
The books lead characters were Hennessey and Yellich, who I thought were good characters. They worked well together, although I would have liked to know more about their private lives and private feelings. They are both fabulous characters and I liked the way they worked methodically through the investigation while always interacting well with one another and the rest of the team. I felt little was given away about these Detectives home lives and to find out more I will have to read more of these books from this series.
While I felt the other characters in the story were all interested and well developed. Indeed I felt some of these could easily have played more of a role in the story because I wanted to know more about them because they were well thought out and had a certain charisma about them.
The author's style of writing I found particularly appealing. He was very good at setting a scene and describing the characters within it. Indeed I felt his descriptions brought alive the scene so that you felt you were there with the investigating officers during their work.
This is certainly a Detective novel that I would recommend. Yes it was a little short in volume but more than made up for it with a very enjoyable and well thought out story. I would have liked more suspects and a longer more drawn out conclusion but the depth within it made it all fascinating.
Publisher: Severn House
About the author: www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/t/peter-turnbull
This review is published under my user name on both Ciao and Dooyoo
@CPTDANIELS November 2010.