Templeton, Aline - 'Evil for Evil'
The preface to the story begins with the words of an unknown person with terrible guilt about a past event. As a small child, this person lay in bed at night watched as their sibling was abducted from the next bed. Paralysed by fear, they said and did nothing. We don't know who this person is, or who the abductor was but it gradually becomes clear that this pivotal event is behind the events that gradually unfold in the rest of the book.
There is a rich array of characters each of whom plays a key part in the story. Perhaps the major character is Major Matt Lovatt. Together with his wife Melissa, he is involved in farming deer in the village Inellan near Kircudbright. Tragically, Melissa is still mourning the loss of her stillborn child, buried on the nearby Lovatt Island, and this is one of the major reasons she won't leave the farm.
Also living on the farm and helping out are two former soldiers that have suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, a young girl called Christie, and an older man, Kerr Brodie. Matt’s role in helping to rehabilitate soldiers leads to a feature about him in a special item on the six o'clock news, which attracts the interest of a woman called Elena. She lives with her husband Eddie Tindall in Manchester. Eddie is besotted with Elena, and was originally a client of Elena’s, when she was working as a prostitute. Eventually he persuaded her to give up prostitution and agree to marry him, and he still can't quite believe it. He doesn’t like to keep too tight a leash on Elena, but even so, when she tells him she has to go away for a few days, he starts to become worried when he can’t use his usual methods to find out where she is, and he hires a private detective to help him track her down. As we discover, Elena has gone up to Inellan, but why?
The local pub, the Smugglers Arms is run by Georgia Stanley. She keeps up with the local gossip, and the disgruntlement from some of the local residents, particularly where Matt is concerned. They resent his return to his family’s farm, and feel they should have a right to farm there instead. Are they to blame for some of the incidents that take place in the book?
The main story centres around the discovery of a skeleton found in a sea cave on Lovatt Island. The unknown person had been shackled to the rocks and left to die a slow death. The skeleton's modern wristwatch suggests that the death was fairly recent. DI Marjory Fleming and her team are called in to investigate. Marjory is, once again, forced to put her career first and concentrate on her detective work even when she would rather spend time with her daughter Cat on her last night before going off to University, and in helping her settle in.
The investigation of the cave skeleton is slow to take off, as the dead person's identity is unknown and it takes some time and skilful detective work to find out who it is. But upon identification the story gradually starts to fall into place.
EVIL FOR EVIL is a complex book full of numerous sub-plots, and plenty of false trails. Aline Templeton has managed to create a large cast of characters, with plenty of detail and backstory that is very effective in engaging the reader with each of them. I became thoroughly immersed in this book, and despite occasionally finding it a bit difficult to keep track of all the numerous characters, I enjoyed it immensely. Aline Templeton's books featuring Marjory Fleming keep improving with each new outing and this new book is a great addition to the series.
Michelle Peckham, England