A murder without a body
Eighteen-year-old Chloe Emery returns to her West London home one day to find the house covered in blood and Kate, her mother, gone. There may not be a body, but everything else points to murder.
A girl too scared to talk
Maeve Kerrigan is young, ambitious and determined to prove she’s up to her new role as detective sergeant. She suspects Chloe is holding something back, but best friend Bethany Norris won’t let Maeve get close. What exactly is Bethany protecting Chloe from?
A detective with everything to prove
As the team dig deeper into the residents of Valerian Road, no one is above suspicion. All Maeve needs is one person to talk, but that’s not going to happen. Because even in a case of murder, some secrets are too terrible to share…
I love a good police procedural and this series is one of the best. Consequently I was delighted when I discovered that detective Maeve Kerrigan was back, and back with a vengeance. In Let the Dead Speak, Maeve is now a Detective Sergeant, but thankfully still part of the Major Investigation Team. I say thankfully, as connoisseurs of this series will appreciate, that means she’s still working with DI Josh Derwent. Derwent is a potent blend of handsome machismo with latent sympathetic tendencies which has you loving him one minute and happily wanting to throttle him the next.
Maeve is still settling into her new role when a major murder case breaks. Chloe Emery arrives home to carnage and her mother Kate is missing. When the police arrive at the scene all the evidence (for that read copious amounts of blood and alarming blood spatter patterns) suggests there ought to be a body, but where is it, and more importantly who is responsible.
Chloe, may, or may not be, as intellectually challenged as everyone claims but she certainly appears to have a secret, but does it relate to the case in hand? The problem for the team, is that once investigations get under way, most of the people who Kate and Chloe came into contact with also appear to have secrets. So the race is on to find the body and uncover the truth.
I was gripped with this story line from the beginning page when the slightly creepy neighbour picked up Chloe and gave her a lift home from something she was clearly escaping from. From the outset, there was an underlying sense of unease which set the tone for what was to follow. Once the murder is discovered the pace picks up and doesn’t drop until the very end. As the team worked through the secrets and lies I was no wiser as to what the outcome would be and I’d be surprised if anyone else reading would piece it together either.
Other than the clever plot lines, the star of this series has always been Maeve and her relationships with her team. As ever, her relationship with Josh is ambiguous and I still sense an underlying sexual tension especially from Josh. Am I reading too much into the fact that with his new-found relationship, he talks more lovingly about his partner’s son than his partner, thereby leaving the door open for Maeve? Whatever the truth, it’s a relationship that is realistic, believable and intriguing. Maeve however has new team member that she is less ambivalent about, namely her new DC Georgia Shaw. Onto a loser from the start due to being a fast track candidate, Maeve observes she’s also young, pretty, ambitious, articulate, confident and damningly not interested in hard work. I have to say I’m with Maeve on this one, DS Shaw will need to up her game if she’s staying around. On the plus side PC Pettifer only made a few appearances, but we definitely need more of this sensible but wry observances.
So in short, this offers everything I want in a police procedural, a taut and clever plotline, multiple suspects, brilliant (if not always likeable) characters, realistic working relationships, some humour to balance the darkness and most importantly a satisfactory outcome. Highly recommended.
I received an ARC via NetGalley to enable this review.