Bolitho, Janie - 'Ripe for Revenge'
The late author is probably better known for her Rose Trevelyan series set in Cornwall but before those, she began writing what was to be an eleven book series featuring Detective Chief Inspector Ian Roper and his team, set in Suffolk. RIPE FOR REVENGE is the second in the series.
Tragedy strikes the small village of Little Endesley when the body of eight year old Sharon Vickers is found near the woods. Suspicion immediately falls on Jacko Penhaligon, who has a history of exposing himself to small girls, especially when he has no alibi for the time of death. As the village is small all the inhabitants are questioned but no one has seen anybody suspicious and the local village policeman thinks it's an inside job. In the course of their enquiries the police discover a hoard of pornography and this in turn leads onto further arrests with far reaching consequences for some people close to Roper.
The Vickers case stalls until they begin to connect it to some other smaller but nasty crimes and then finally a motive for Sharon Vickers' murder is revealed.
This was an enjoyable read. Well plotted, with the identity of the murderer becoming clearer to the reader only slightly before the police deduced it. What I particularly liked was the police team which as well as 'The Chief', included Sergeant Barry Swann, who is moving away from his chauvinistic tendencies towards a real relationship and WPC Judy Robbins, a feminist with a few choice phrases for Swann. I plan to read more in the series to find out how their lives progress.
Karen Meek, England