This is the 64th in my series of forgotten books
Last Respects by Catherine Aird, © 1982, Bantam Books 1984 mass market paperback, British rural mystery – Detective Inspector C.D. Slone
This mystery by one of the British old hands at crime fiction may have been published in 1982 but it reads like it was written a decade or two – or more – earlier. Aird, the author of more than twenty crime fiction novels and several collections of short stories, sticks to classic lines in her mysteries, and that is both the beauty, and sometimes, the weakness of them. Her books are witty, literate, and straddle the “cozy” and “police procedural” genres.
Aird is best known for her successful Chronicles of Calleshire, a series of crime novels set in the fictional County of Calleshire, England, and featuring Detective Chief Inspector C.D. Sloan of the Berebury CID Department, and his assistant, Detective Constable Crosby. This book is the tenth in a series that doesn’t demand to be read in order.
A body is found floating in the river estuary, apparently it has been in the water for some time. Difficult to identify, there seem no leads to who the man is, though the cause of death is plain: a broken neck. So the person was killed – must have been, the body had to have been moved into the middle of the river – not drowned. Murder brings Detective Inspector C.D. Sloan and Detective Constable Crosby to the case.
Plenty of attention to sense of place here, and the characters, or at least those that are important to the story, are pretty well drawn. I’d have liked a map, but I suppose that’s a minor quibble. Those who like to solve the puzzle for themselves, preceding the protagonist to the solution, won’t have much difficulty here, but in this Aird mystery, it’s not the solving so much as the telling. Readers who enjoy this type of mystery will likely enjoy this one, and though it’s not one of the strongest in the series it’s a promising choice for reading on a summer afternoon with a cool drink at hand.
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links to all of the Forgotten Book posts can be found on Patti Abbott’s blog, Pattinase