Playing With Bones (DI Joe Plantagenet) by Kate Ellis

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Playing With Bones (DI Joe Plantagenet) by Kate Ellis

Category: Crime
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: Well plotted and with excellent characters and a well-realised location this police procedural comes highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 320 Date: July 2009
Publisher: Piatkus
ISBN: 978-0749909321

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Two teenagers went to a nightclub and the following morning the body of one of them was found in Singmass Close – a sinister part of Eborby reputed to be haunted by the cruelly-treated children of long-defunct Ragged School. The teenager had been strangled and mutilated – her left big toe cut off. By her side there was a Victorian doll – similarly mutilated. Back in the nineteen fifties there has been four murders in Singmass Close – young women who were strangled and mutilated and left with a doll by their side. The killer had never been brought to justice. He'd be likely to be in his seventies by now – was it possible that he was still fit enough to return to his old ways?

I did enjoy this book, not least because of the character of DI Joe Plantagenet. He's honest, thoughtful and considerate. Originally he'd begun training for the priesthood but met the woman who was to become his wife and realised that the life could never be for him. Sadly Kaitlin was to die soon after their marriage and whilst there had been other women in the many intervening years no one had ever matched up to Kaitlin, including Maddy, his current girl friend. Crime fiction seems to require a hard-drinking, ungodly womaniser for the Inspectorate and it was refreshing to meet one prepared to offer a prayer over a murder victim.

The location is excellent too. Those who know York will recognise much of the landscape from the 'cathedral' to the chocolate factory on the edge of town. Full advantage is taken of the medieval atmosphere to play with the spooky premise of the ghosts of dead children haunting Singmass Close. There are elegant contrasts between the old and the new parts of the city, the prosperous and the down-at-heel and the religious and the ungodly.

It's the story that grips though. I read the book in two sittings, completely unable to stay away from it. The plot is expertly built – all the clues are there but the chilling finale was completely unexpected and all the various plot lines are satisfyingly resolved. Most police procedurals don't stand more than one reading - once you know that it was the butler who did it there's not a lot of point in rereading simply to have the fact confirmed – but this will bear at least one more reading just so that I can see how it was all done.

Highly recommended.

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

If this type of book appeals to you then you might also enjoy Cut Short by Leigh Russell although it's not of the same quality.

Booklists.jpg Playing With Bones (DI Joe Plantagenet) by Kate Ellis is in the Bookbag's Christmas Gift Recommendations 2009.
Buy Playing With Bones (DI Joe Plantagenet) by Kate Ellis at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Playing With Bones (DI Joe Plantagenet) by Kate Ellis at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Playing With Bones (DI Joe Plantagenet) by Kate Ellis at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Playing With Bones (DI Joe Plantagenet) by Kate Ellis at Amazon.com.


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