George, Elizabeth - 'This Body of Death'
In the New Forest, Meredith decides it is time to patch up a silly quarrel with a life long friend, Jemima. However when she visits, Meredith is told that her friend has left her home and her boyfriend and has moved away and is unreachable. Already a new girlfriend is living in the house, although Jemima's car is still parked in the barn and her clothes and possessions are packed up in the loft. Meredith is immediately suspicious and sets out to find Jemima or the truth of what has happened to her.
Inspector Lynley is on compassionate leave following the death of his wife and Isabelle Ardery is appointed as acting Detective Superintendent in Lynley's division. She struggles with being accepted by the team, family issues and an addiction that is getting out of hand. She is on probation and she is tasked with persuading Inspector Lynley back to work, and then a young woman is found murdered.
Interspersed with this storyline is the story of three young boys, all neglected and abused in different ways by their families, who decide to truant one day and set out looking for mischief. They come across a toddler in a café and take him for a walk...
I have always enjoyed the Inspector Lynley books and even the TV series, even though the actor playing him did not accord with the written description, so it was with great anticipation that I opened this book. However, I struggled with it. I have pondered why this was and have come to the conclusion that it was partly because I was constantly wondering when the main character - to my mind, Inspector Lynley - would enter and partly because I felt that too many characters were introduced too quickly and I didn't have an opportunity to warm to them or to develop an interest in them before another storyline was presented.
Also, a minor point perhaps, but a personal irritation. We have a female police officer who has been given the chance to show she is ready for a senior operating role - a challenge with all the pressures and stresses that involves. However, she not only has family problems - when was there a fictional female police officer without family problems? - but also has an alcohol addiction. Neither moved the story on so why introduce them?
Read another review of THIS BODY OF DEATH.
Susan White, England