Without a Trace by Jane Bettany
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|Without a Trace by Jane Bettany|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: An intriguing whodunnit which made for a good read.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 352||Date: Octobere 2021|
|Publisher: HQ Digital|
|External links: Author's website|
Life hadn't been easy for Ruth Prendergast: she'd just come through a divorce and right now it was raining hard. All she wanted was to get back to her new home and settle down for a quiet evening. It wasn't going to be though: when she went into her bedroom she found a dead man on her bed with a knife in his chest. She'd no idea who he was.
D I Isabel Blood was due to start two weeks of leave. She'd recently reconnected with her father who'd left her and her mother when she was fourteen years old. It was decades since she'd seen him but Detective Superintendent Val Tibbet had cancelled all leave because of the murder and Isabel was soon on her way to 4 Hollybrook Close in Bainbridge. She barely had time to meet Donald Corrington from the plane - and was surprised to discover that he'd brought his son and Isabel's half brother, Fabien, with him from France.
She had hoped that her father would already have told his family that he had bigamously married Isabel's mother, but he's obviously reluctant to make the admission. He'd rather that the family thought that Isabel's mother had knowingly involved herself with a married man. But how long can the secret be kept? Nathan Blood isn't keen to maintain the lie and teenager Ellie is quite likely to blurt something out. Isabel's confused too about why her father would have chosen to stay in a hotel rather than with his family, who had been expecting him.
The body was identified as 47-year-old Kevin Spriggs, a car mechanic. There seemed to be no connection with Ruth Prendergast, or even with Gerald Langton the previous owner of the property. It's then down to the minutiae of establishing who might have had access to a key to 4 HollyBrook Close and who might have had reason to want to see Kevin Spriggs dead. He had a criminal record for violence to a woman and didn't seem to be well-liked by anyone but why would his body be left at Ruth's house?
Jane Bettany handles what seems like a cast of thousands with consummate ease, bringing each one to life in remarkably few words. The plot was good too: I worked out part of the solution but not all of it and it certainly didn't spoil the read. It's an intriguing story: there doesn't seem to be a ready answer to the conundrums the case presents. Essentially the book is a story of dysfunctional family relationships and how incorrect assumptions can be made.
I'm looking forward to the next book in the series and I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
For more crime from Derbyshire, we can recommend Stephen Booth's Cooper and Fry books.
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