When the body of Cornelius Weeks is first discovered, in a car, with the windows all rolled up, and with a hosepipe leading from the exhaust to the interior of the car by way of a narrow crack in one of the windows, the obvious conclusion is of course suicide. However, the police soon have cause to doubt this view, and an investigation into Weekes's background and activities reveals that he was a freelance journalist, who had believed he had stumbled onto to something that would make his career. Imagine DCI George Hennessey's surprise when he discovers that Weekes was actually looking into the conviction of Melanie Clifford, with the idea of proving that she was actually innocent of the charge of murdering Charlotte Erickson, her ex-lover's young wife!
About 18 years ago, Charlotte Erickson was found dead on the grounds of her spacious home, with a bullet in a head. An anonymous tip lead the police to Melanie Clifford's doorstep, where the police discovered the murder weapon in the boot of her car. Melanie had always claimed she was innocent of the crime; however the Crown painted a rather vindictive portrait of Melanie as the bitter ex-girlfriend that had ended her rival's life out of sheer spite. Melanie was found guilty of Charlotte's murder, and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Hennessey has no doubts about Melanie's guilt, mainly because the investigation was handled by one of York's finest detectives, DCI John Cross (now retired). However the more he looks into Melanie's case, the more he becomes aware of the fact that a terrible case of a miscarriage in justice may have occurred. For it is beginning to look as if Melanie was innocent of murdering Charlotte afterall, and that Weekes may have actually stumbled onto evidence that could have exonerated her. Now Hennessey and Yellich must reinvestigate the murder of Charlotte Erickson, to discover not only who murdered her, but who is still willing to commit further murders in order not to be discovered.
This is my third DCI Hennessey/DS Yellich murder mystery, and it the one I've enjoyed most to date. The mystery is an interesting and intriguing one, that pays attention not only to the police investigation on hand, but also to the forensic evidence gathered, and to the M.E's findings. So that one gets a more rounded view of all the evidence that is gathered and what it all entails. I also liked the colourful manner in which Peter Turnbull described events, people and places. His prose style however could take a little getting used to: it is quite old fashioned, leisurely and a little sedate -- so that eventhough events unfolded over a couple of days, one got the sense that a lot more time had lapsed. What really irritated me about this novel however was the editing: it is obvious that Turnbull is someone who enjoys words and language, so that it is really quite criminal that this novel was not edited with better care. Barring that peeve, "Deathtrap" is a rather engrossing and enjoyable read.