The Nidderdale Murders by J R Ellis

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The Nidderdale Murders by J R Ellis

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Category: Crime
Rating: 3/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: The fifth book in this easy-reading series. It brings the Yorkshire countryside to life and provides light entertainment.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 301/9h2m Date: August 2020
Publisher: Thomas and Mercer
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1542017435

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It was a Friday in mid-September when the shoot was held on the grouse moor near Niddersgill. The shooters at the butts were a strange mixture: Alexander Fraser (Sandy to his friends) was the owner of the moor and a retired judge. James Symonds was a local landowner and Henry Saunders was a banker. He and Fraser had known each other since their school days. The fourth member was Gideon Rawnsley, who dealt in exclusive cars in nearby Ripon. Rawnsley had a gripe with Fraser: he'd sold him an expensive car and Fraser was being slow to pay. Other people had reason to comment on Fraser's attitude to money: his gamekeeper, Ian Davis thought he was stingy and very difficult to work for.

That evening the people who had been at the shoot had a celebration meal at the Dog and Gun. Rob and Sheila Owen ran the pub and restaurant and whilst Sheila knew that the shoots brought a lot of money into the village she resented the way that Fraser always criticised her cooking. Fraser lived in a manor house on the edge of the village and as he was walking home in the early hours of the morning he was shot and killed. One of the bar staff, Kirsty Hemingway, was looking out of the window and saw exactly what happened: she told the police that someone who did odd jobs around the village, Alan Green, was the man behind the shotgun. She'd seen him clearly. The problem is that Alan Green, regular at the Dog and Gun, a man who has worked on various properties in the village has disappeared. No one knows where he lives and he seems to have disappeared into thin air. There's fear in the village.

DCI Jim Oldroyd is on the case: it's a local bigwig so the case has been assigned to him and he has his two sergeants in tow. DS Steph Johnson and DS Andy Carter are a couple as well as partners. Andy does seem to do some useful work - he spotted the fact which put the team on the right track, but Steph is woefully underused. She seems to be there to do the womanly thing of talking to the victim's widow, provide admiration for Jim Oldroyd and ask obvious questions:

This is getting more and more complex and sinister, isn't it, sir?

There's only one star in this show and that's Oldroyd himself. All will ultimately rest on his brilliant mind and investigative powers. You could almost send the rest of them home.

Yes - I know - I'm being very critical about what is obviously intended to be an easy read. I should get over it. I did enjoy the trip into the Yorkshire countryside: J R Ellis brings it to life perfectly. I first came to this series when I saw the last book in the series: I was born in Harrogate and this was too good to resist. The Nidderdale Murders tempted me because I went to school in Nidderdale. I wonder where Jim Oldroyd will find himself next? And will he make more use of DS Steph Johnson?

I'd like to thank the publishers for making a review copy available to the Bookbag.

For more easy-reading Yorkshire crime we can recommend the Kit Hartley Yorkshire Mysteries. You could also try A Brush With Death: A Susie Mahl Mystery by Ali Carter, Murder at the Manor Hotel (Melissa Craig 4) by Betty Rowlands or Bellebrook's Secrets by Helen Stafford.

J R Ellis's DCI Jim Oldroyd novels in chronological order

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