No Known Grave (A Detective Inspector Tom Tyler Mystery) by Maureen Jennings
|No Known Grave (A Detective Inspector Tom Tyler Mystery) by Maureen Jennings|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: It's the third book in the series but reads perfectly well as a stand alone. Be warned though - you'll be going back for the first two! Highly recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 416||Date: November 2014|
|Publisher: Titan Books|
|External links: Author's website|
By the middle of 1942 Detective Inspector Tom Tyler has had a difficult two years and he's making a fresh start in Ludlow. St Anne's Convalescent Hospital is on the outskirts of the town and it's staffed by nursing sisters who are Anglican nuns and they're there specifically to help people who have been maimed and injured by the war. It should be a peaceful place of recovery but then a double murder in the grounds of the home shatters all that has been so carefully built up. Many of the patients are blind or unable to walk and most are suffering from what we would now call post-traumatic stress disorder - but it seems as though one of the patients must be a murderer as this is almost a classic 'locked room' mystery.
The murders took place in the early hours of the morning and the house and grounds are surrounded by high walls. The gates are locked and bolted each evening and staff are on duty throughout the night. How could the murder have taken place and where is the weapon? Police resources are tight - most able-bodied men are away fighting - and Tyler has to rely on some unusual help - but then he receives letters which tell of terrible crimes and he knows that he is not only dealing with murder in his hometown, but with the wider horrors of war.
I started this book at a disadvantage. It's the third book in a series but I haven't read either of the first two. Additionally, I'm not a great fan of historical fiction and particularly of stories set in wartime but I was impressed by No Known Grave. Maureen Jennings left the UK for Canada at the age of seventeen, but she captures wartime England perfectly and in DI Tom Tyler she has a great leading character. He's flawed - knowing in his own mind that he should never have married Vera when his heart belonged to another woman and able to hope that now they are divorced Vera might be able to find happiness. He's also honest enough to admit that this might also stop the demands for more money! He's determined to do a good job and even enjoys the domesticity of the all-male station house.
The supporting cast is good too. I liked the nuns - all looking the same in their habits but coming off the page individually - and I really hope that we will be more of Constable Mortimer. She's the well-born young lady who drives Tyler around at great speed in a motorcycle-and-sidecar combo, talks in a high-falutin' voice but has a great deal of common sense. Genius!
It's the plot you really want to know about, isn't it? Well, it's just about perfect. There's an elegant combination of the locked room mystery and the effects of what's happening in the wider world. I usually have someone at least pencilled in as the murderer, but this time I really had no idea - but as soon as we were told it was completely obvious. It's great stuff and an author I'm glad to have discovered. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
I had another serendipitous find of a new crime author recently - Sins of the Father by Graham Hurley.
You can read more book reviews or buy No Known Grave (A Detective Inspector Tom Tyler Mystery) by Maureen Jennings at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy No Known Grave (A Detective Inspector Tom Tyler Mystery) by Maureen Jennings at Amazon.com.
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