Dead Flowers (Dr Sian Love) by Nicola Monaghan

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Dead Flowers (Dr Sian Love) by Nicola Monaghan

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: Sian Love had spent ten years on the murder squad before she resigned, so she knows what's going to happen when she finds two dead bodies in the cellar of her new home, a former pub in Nottingham. What she didn't realise was just how personal it was going to get. A compelling page tuner and a new detective to follow.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 304 Date: September 2019
Publisher: Verve Books
ISBN: 978-0857308023

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It was more than a little bit of a surprise to Dr Sian Love (and the rest of the relatives) when her uncle Bobby left her his home - a former pub called The Loggerheads in the Narrow Marsh area of Nottingham. Then it was a shock when she found two bodies in the cellar before she'd even got settled in - and managed to break a bone in her foot in the course of making the discovery. They'd been there for some time, but who - exactly - were the man and the woman, wrapped in each other's arms? Having spent ten years on the Murder Squad, ending up as a DCI she knows what's going to happen next, but she's not prepared for quite how personal it's all going to get.

I don't usually enjoy private investigator novels, much preferring the traditional police procedural, but there are exceptions and I've just added Dr Sian Love to the list. She's feisty and independent. Whilst she might not know exactly what she does want out of life she knows what she doesn't want. She doesn't want any man to be close enough to control her: one abusive relationship has been enough for her. The only male she allows herself to get really fond of is Elvis, the former police cadaver dog - and he was the one who led her to the bodies. On/off boyfriend DI Kris Payne sometimes finds it all a bit too much.

Whilst the police presence in the former pub is a bit intrusive there's no immediate threat to Sian. The bodies are going on for fifty years old, so whatever happened to them (and the bullet holes in their heads are a bit of a hint) happened around about the time she was born. The problem is that the police seem determined to blame Sian's uncle, Bobby O'Quaid, for the murders and Sian's not so certain. At about the time of the killings Bobby had been working for the manager of the pub, Harry McKenzie, and both men had lived with their wives above the pub. There had even been a band run by Harry with his wife, Angela, as the lead singer. Her sister - Marilyn - was married to Bobby and she was jealous and combined with the unpredictable Harry McKenzie it could only be a matter of time before there was trouble.

You'll have realised already that you need to keep track of the characters. I found this difficult at first and resorted to some pencilled notes, but it wasn't long before they all had a place in my mind. Author Nicola Monaghan has a talent for making characters real in remarkably few words, which is no mean feat, particularly in a book like Dead Flowers where the changing relationships are like a tangled ball of wool. Monaghan's other great skill is in making the city of Nottingham come alive, to the extent that it's almost a character in its own right. There's a seediness to some areas and it's easy to see how organised crime exerts its influence, how some people come to feel that they're above the law.

I do hope that there are going to be more Dr Sian Love mysteries: I'd be keen to read them and I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag. So, which other private investigator novels do I rate? Well, Jackson Brodie is always going to be a favourite.

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Buy Dead Flowers (Dr Sian Love) by Nicola Monaghan at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Dead Flowers (Dr Sian Love) by Nicola Monaghan at


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