The Shroud Maker by Kate Ellis

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The Shroud Maker by Kate Ellis

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Category: Crime
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: The eighteenth book in the D I Wesley Peterson series is entertaining and will be welcomed by fans of the series but don't worry if you're coming in late as it reads perfectly well as a standalone.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 384 Date: January 2014
Publisher: Piatkus
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0749958046

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It's a year on since the last Palkin Festival when Jenny Bercival disappeared and this time D I Wesley Peterson is called in when the body of a young woman is discovered floating out to sea in a dinghy. The town is packed with visitors who've come to celebrate the life of the fourteenth century mayor of Tradmouth, but John Palkin was no saint either, having made his fortune in trade and the odd bit of piracy. Jenny Bercival's mother is convinced that her daughter is still alive - she's even received some letters which back this up - but Peterson is concerned that the two cases might be linked. If one woman has been brutally murdered the outlook for the one who has been missing for a year doesn't look good.

Kate Ellis's books nimbly mix history with mystery in the present day but this time we also have a neat nod to the internet and games with a fantasy website called Shipworld where John Palkin is a supernatural hero and many of those involved in the case are referenced on the site. To complicate matters further there's also a link to the nineteenth century and a descendant of John Palkin - although here the reader knows more than the detectives.

It seem to have become a tradition that fictional detectives have to be hard-drinking, ungodly womanisers and I'm pleased that Kate Ellis has bucked the trend. I was very impressed by D I Joe Plantagenet in her series set in North Yorkshire. Wesley Peterson might not be immune to temptation but he's an honest man, conscious of his work and his family responsibilities. He's of West Indian descent but it was reassuring that Ellis didn't make too much of this.

As with all Ellis's books the research is impeccable but she resists the temptation to shoehorn in every fact she can lay her hands on. I found the book slightly long - that could be because I'm no aficionado of historical festivals - but it was still a good read with some twists which I didn't see coming.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

If this book appeals then you might also enjoy The Falls by Ian Rankin. In the Wesley Peterson series we've also enjoyed The Shadow Collector.

Kate Ellis's D I Wesley Peterson Novels in chronological order

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