Dead on Time by Veronyca Bates

Dead on Time by Veronyca Bates

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Louise Laurie
Reviewed by Louise Laurie
Summary: Inspector Cobb has another murder on his hands. The local mayor, Jonathan Boot, drops dead right in the middle of a council meeting and it's Cobb's job to find out why and by whom.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 224 Date: July 2011
Publisher: Robert Hale Ltd
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0709092506

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I reviewed Bates' earlier book Dead in the Water and enjoyed it for what it was - a light but enjoyable crime read. This book has the same look and feel about it. Bates has decided to base her crime within the corridors of power, local power that is, the council chambers. And some of us, perhaps many of us, secretly would like to know the ins and outs, the deals made etc by our locally-elected councillors (even although we agree that much of their work can be a tad dull and a tad tedious). But we'll probably shout from the rafters if they happen to get their comeuppance, as happens in this book. Mayor Boot has received his final comeuppance. He's dead.

The rather gruff new pathologist on the police team tells Cobb like it is. The dead man's been poisoned and the particular strain used is linked to a garden plant: deadly nightshade (the clue to its properties may be in its name). And now Cobb's work starts in earnest (you could say, deadly earnest) as he investigates exactly what the mayor ate and drank prior to his untimely death.

Cobb's sidekick is a man called Bould and comes in handy as a sounding board and the two of them work together as a pretty good team, on the whole. There's the odd joke (the very odd joke) to relieve long hours. Now they are digging into Boot's past and come up with some interesting facts. Boot and his family lived in some splendour and some are wondering how he managed to maintain this grand lifestyle on a councillor's pay. Seems he liked a flutter on the horses for starters. And there's more, quite a bit more.

Questions put to the locals come up with some surprising and worrying answers. Although generally well-liked and even well-respected by the majority of the town, someone wanted him dead. Why? Into the mix is thrown a missing art collection, possible forgery, a shady character or two ... but what's most worrying is the murder count in increasing.

I found Bates to have a natural storytelling voice which makes it very easy to get into the story quickly. A handful of minor characters make their brief appearance which adds to the overall interest and intrigue.

I must say that I did enjoy this book. It's a good choice for a holiday read or for a lazy day in the garden. Personally, I enjoyed this book a little more than the first book due to the choice of plot. Local Government in all its guises can get people's backs up and I thought it an excellent 'hook' to get readers interested early on. In real life, stories have got out about shady deals, back-handers and more. Many of us like a good gripe at our local councillors too. It's human nature but sometimes it's fully warranted.

On a very small point, I wasn't overly keen on the stylized front cover as I believe the book is better than the cover suggests. It doesn't go the book any favours. But overall, another entertaining crime book from Bates.

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

If this book appeals then you might like to try Dead in the Water also by Veronyca Bates.

Buy Dead on Time by Veronyca Bates at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Dead on Time by Veronyca Bates at

Buy Dead on Time by Veronyca Bates at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Dead on Time by Veronyca Bates at


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Last modified on 8 March 2018, at 09:30