23 December 2011

Review: ECHOES OF THE DEAD, Sally Spencer

  • Published by Severn House 2010
  • ISBN 978-0-7278-6980-7
  • 218 pages
  • source: my local library
Publisher's blurb

When a recently released prisoner claims in a deathbed confession that he is innocent of the rape and murder of a young girl for which he was convicted twenty-two years earlier, DCI Monika Paniatowski is tasked to lead an unofficial investigation into his claims.
At first she is reluctant, but when she learns that her old mentor Charlie Woodend was the lead detective in the case, she knows she must do everything she can to protect his reputation . . .

My take

I have been rationing myself with Sally Spencer titles this year. As you can see from the list of reviews below I have read a few of them. ECHOES OF THE DEAD is #3 in the Monika Paniatowski series and now I'm really looking forward to #4.

A large part of ECHOES OF THE DEAD is a recap of the events of 22 years earlier, Charlie Woodend's first case as a Scotland Yard investigator. He is called in to investigate the death of 13 year old Lilly Dawson, raped and strangled, and his judgement is impaired by a number of things: the fact that his own daughter is of a similar age, his sergeant Bannerman is so keen to get a result quickly and to begin climbing the promotions ladder, the local plods seem to have done such shoddy work in the few days they had the case missing all sorts of clues to the killer's identity.

Monika realises that she needs to confront Charlie himself, now retired in Spain, and I enjoyed the interplay between these two characters. Charlie is sure he couldn't have made a mistake, but then doubts being to creep in. Could he have been duped? It certainly looks as if Charlie will have to wear the blame if the Chief Commissioner admits the wrong man was convicted. Can Monika and Charlie work out who really did kill Lilly?

Very good reading for those who like nice solidly plotted police procedurals with the occasional excursion into what makes people tick.

My rating: 4.6

Other reviews of Sally Spencer titles on MiP
4.3, THE GOLDEN MILE TO MURDER
4.5, THE RING OF DEATH
4.4, FATAL QUEST: WOODEND'S FIRST CASE
4.4, THE SALTON KILLINGS
4.7, THE DEAD HAND OF HISTORY 
4.3, THE DARK LADY 

DCI Monika Paniatowski series (from Fantastic Fiction)
1. The Dead Hand of History (2009)
2. The Ring of Death (2010)
3. Echoes of the Dead (2010)
4. Backlash (2011)

6 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Kerrie - Thanks for reminding me of Sally Spencer. I'm ashamed I haven't read her work yet, 'though I've wanted to. You've now given me more motivation with this excellent review - thanks.

Bernadette said...

It's nice when you get to that anticipatory stage with an author isn't it? I'm hanging out for the new Chris Grabenstein book due out in May next year...I got so sick of waiting that I re-read (or re-listened) to a couple of the audio books earlier this year.

Lizzy Siddal said...

I'm joining. Start-up post to be written later today but I think I'll start with an eye on the medium level ....

Shonna said...

I forgot to put the country on my first Asia entry, so redid it. Can you remove the first one
Thanks for hosting this.

Kerrie said...

all fixed Shonna

Sally said...

I like the way you have organized this Kerrie; I think it will be easier to keep up with the posting.

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