RogerBW's Blog

Talking to the Dead, Harry Bingham 28 January 2019

2012 police procedural mystery, first in the Fiona Griffiths series. DC Griffiths, who had a serious breakdown of some sort when she was a teenager, is the most junior member of the police team investigating the murder of a part-time prostitute and her young daughter in Cardiff.

It rapidly becomes clear that Fi Griffiths is not by any means a conventional copper. Even a little time spent inside her head (and this is narrated in first person) makes it clear that this is not someone who should be trusted with police powers, or possibly even let out in public. She follows hunches, ignores her assigned tasks, badgers witnesses and suspects, and generally makes a mess of being part of the team.

Except that she has a nasty habit of being able to put the pieces together, and while she may get shouted at a lot, her superiors can recognise that doing that can outweigh the other stuff. (Even so, one has to stretch one's suspension of disbelief a little.) There's a lot of interviewing of prostitutes, and Fi seems to have a knack there too, for putting aside the aura of police-ness and talking as a friend.

Jackson is a grizzled old sod, which means that he remembers the old days, when prostitutes were just bundled off down to the interview rooms to be shouted at by a whole bunch of blokey officers who exuded dislike, lust, and distaste from every masculine pore. But he's also an intelligent officer, who recognizes that the old days weren't exactly bathed in an eternal glow of success, and that other approaches have their merits too.

There's evidence to be evaluated, and a possibly-deceased tycoon who seems to be involved; this isn't quite a mystery, in that who actually did the killing can be worked out fairly quickly, but there's a lot more needed to set things up such that they can be arrested and effectively prosecuted. There's a neat trick here of making the criminals plausibly self-interested and stupid rather than Moriarty-esque masterminds, but at the same time leaving their schemes not at all obvious from the outside.

This is certainly grim-police in the Stuart MacBride style, and I won't be reading lots of these in quick succession, but it's very good stuff, and Fi's voice in particular is going to bring me back for more. Recommended by Gus. Followed by Love Story, With Murders. FFTR.

[Buy this at Amazon] and help support the blog.

Series: Fiona Griffiths | Next in series: Love Story, With Murders

Comments on this post are now closed. If you have particular grounds for adding a late comment, comment on a more recent post quoting the URL of this one.

Search
Archive
Tags 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 3d printing action aeronautics aikakirja anecdote animation anime army astronomy audio audio tech base commerce battletech beer boardgaming bookmonth chain of command children chronicle church of no redeeming virtues cold war comedy computing contemporary cornish smuggler cosmic encounter coup cycling dead of winter doctor who documentary drama driving drone ecchi economics espionage essen 2015 essen 2016 essen 2017 essen 2018 existential risk falklands war fandom fantasy film firefly first world war flash point food garmin drive gazebo geodata gin gurps gurps 101 harpoon historical history horror hugo 2014 hugo 2015 hugo 2016 hugo 2017 hugo 2018 hugo 2019 hugo-nebula reread in brief avoid instrumented life kickstarter learn to play leaving earth linux mecha men with beards museum mystery naval non-fiction one for the brow opera perl perl weekly challenge photography podcast politics powers prediction privacy project woolsack pyracantha quantum rail ranting raspberry pi reading reading boardgames social real life restaurant reviews romance rpg a day rpgs science fiction scythe second world war security shipwreck simutrans smartphone south atlantic war squaddies stationery steampunk stuarts suburbia superheroes suspense television the resistance thirsty meeples thriller tin soldier torg toys trailers travel vietnam war war wargaming weather wives and sweethearts writing about writing x-wing young adult
Special All book reviews, All film reviews
Produced by aikakirja v0.1