In the dark and fetid cottage, Martha's instincts tell her that this is a homicide - a hunch borne out by the post mortem. But there are many questions about the dead man's identity. He is initially thought to be James Humphreys, a respectable, middle-aged businessman who had rented the cottage a couple of months ago, and had recently gone missing. The corpse certainly fits his description.
Yet when Mr Humphreys' wife, Cressida, comes to identify the body, she is adamant that it is not her husband. So who is it? Why has he been murdered? And where has the real Mr Humphreys gone?
©2004 Priscilla Masters; (P)2004 WF Howes Ltd
This is a very good book. I love Martha and her side need of playing sleuth as well as being a coroner. She is a smart and intriguing character. I look forward to reading more about Martha and her cases. The reader is very good as well. I think a reader can make or break even a good book.
Love books! Classics and lighter fiction, mysteries (not too violent please :-). And selective non-fiction--whatever takes my fancy.
Interesting, meandering, surprise-ending
No, far from it. It is the story of Martha Gunn, a coroner who is technically and ethically not supposed to be doing any detecting on her own, but whose natural curiosity pushes her into it anyway. This is not a fast-paced CSI style book, but comes closer to the slowly unfolding classic detective story--with the twist that the main character is not allowed to be a snoop. Part of what is interesting are the ways she can get around the rules to do that anyway.
I thought she did a good job of making all the voices clear and distinct, but a few sounded rather "forced." I found myself wishing she might have read just a tad faster, but she still did a good enough job with the book.
It has a good, unexpected ending.
I felt that Martha's character was well-developed. I had a good sense of who she is, what had occurred in her background to bring her to where she is in the book, but the other characters (mostly those she works with) we're sadly undeveloped (to my taste), but that leaves room for more in future books in the series.
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