RogerBW's Blog

Love Story, With Murders, Harry Bingham 05 April 2019

2014 police procedural mystery, second in the Fiona Griffiths series. A woman's leg and foot are found in a freezer during a house clearance, and other parts are nearby; then a man's body parts start showing up in the same area.

So that's one investigation: how were the two connected, and how did they come to get murdered and scattered (several years apart)?

The fact is that forensic science doesn't have a whole raft of statistical data on how rapidly a head decomposes when submerged in a barrel of old lawn mower oil.

There are some obvious connections, but it's the non-obvious ones that interest Fi and lead to unexpected further evidence. At the same time, she's looking into her own mysterious background, and dealing with her rather odd psychological state.

The case develops gradually, and I can't go into any details about it without giving away points that it's better to discover through reading, but it twists effectively away from its initial appearances to something rather more complex and cynical.

The pacing is a bit odd, though, and I kept expecting the book to end earlier than it did; the resolution is rather drawn out and wastes the dramatic tension it's built up rather than bleeding it off in catharsis. I also felt that Fi's interactions with the officer in charge of the case were a bit of a misstep, with a personal angle that didn't quite fit the circumstances.

Still, Fi's voice is the main reason to read this, as she does a variety of dubiously-legal things in pursuit of justice but still manages to keep this reader's sympathy.

Recommended by Gus. Followed by The Strange Death of Fiona Griffiths.

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Previous in series: Talking to the Dead | Series: Fiona Griffiths | Next in series: The Strange Death of Fiona Griffiths

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