Dunne, Steven - 'The Unquiet Grave'
This is the fourth book by the Yorkshire-born author, now a school teacher in Derby, featuring the damaged policeman Brook. Detective Inspector Damen Brook is still under suspension because he allowed his daughter to impersonate a police woman. Brook's closest friend in the force Detective Sergeant John Noble has been investigating the murder of a young boy. A vagrant is arrested for his murder. Another boy goes missing but his body is not found.
On Brook's return, instead of him helping with the missing teenager, Superintendent Charlton assigns him to cold case files, along with a retired DCI, Clive Copeland. Brook feels his career is over and is contemplating resigning. The cases he is given are a murdered child in the '70s and Billy Stanford, a boy who burned to death in the family shed on his birthday in the '60s. Brook is also aware of a file on Copeland's sister who vanished in the '60s.
The senior detectives who figure in the file reviews, are Sam Bannon, Walter Laird and Copeland. Bannon is deceased and because so much time has elapsed there are few witnesses still alive. Brook starts the thankless task of re interviewing the remaining witnesses: Billy Stanforth's sister Amelia who is in a care home; Amelia's old boyfriend, Brendan McCleary, who is a petty criminal and has served time for murdering his father, and Teddy Mullen Billy's best friend. Hidden in the files is a reference to the Pied Piper, but not one of the original investigating team will acknowledge its meaning.
The Damen Brook series is a different series, with Brook's mental history (he had a breakdown in London tracking the Reaper). He is disliked by many of his colleagues and has made an enemy of the local crime journalist. He is a loner but is painstaking in his detection skills. I enjoyed THE UNQUIET GRAVE and certainly recommend it. It's not essential to read the books in order but it helps.
Geoff Jones, England