Blood on the Tongue Mass Market Paperback – Sep 2003
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The weather is cold and the clues no warmer as Peak District detectives Ben Cooper and Diane Fry tackle a medley of mysteries--each one knottier than the last--in English author Stephen Booth's haunting third novel, Blood on the Tongue. The unidentified body of a dead man has turned up on a frosty roadside. An abused woman is found curled in the snow on nearby Irontongue Hill, an apparent suicide. And there's the lingering puzzle of a Royal Air Force bomber that crashed into Irontongue back in 1945, killing everyone on board except for the pilot, who reportedly walked away from the wreckage... and was never heard from again. With leave and sickness decimating the ranks of the Edendale police force, all hands are needed to solve the modern deaths. But constable Cooper finds himself distracted by the World War II tragedy, in large part because of a beguiling young Canadian, the granddaughter of that missing pilot, who's come to Edendale determined to clear her ancestor's name.
Not surprisingly, these various cases eventually intertwine. But how they're linked by time and tragedy provides the intrigue here. Equally involving is the prickly alliance between Cooper, the "too bloody nice" local lad, and his superior, the emotionally guarded outsider, Fry. Plotted for maximum psychological suspense, teeming with singular secondary characters, and capitalizing on Britain's still-poignant memories of the last world war, Blood on the Tongue is an ambitious and remarkably mature work that delivers on the promise Booth showed in his first novel, Black Dog. --J. Kingston Pierce --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
The overworked police of Edendale (England) face their greatest challenge yet in Booth's outstanding third mystery (after 2001's Dancing with the Virgins). Det. Constable Ben Cooper, young, dedicated, diffident and thoroughly unorthodox, and his supervisor, Det. Sergeant Diane Fry, efficient, ambitious, aggressive and businesslike, are nearly overwhelmed when confronted by a vicious beating of two men that may have been fueled by racial hatreds, an unidentified corpse uncovered by a snowplow, and another corpse found frozen in the hills of the Peak District. A missing infant and a Canadian woman investigating what happened to her grandfather after his Lancaster bomber crashed 57 years before further complicate the absorbing, complex plot. The author examines the Polish community of Edendale, probing its insularity, its customs, passions and pride, and his country characters, like George Malkin of remote Hollow Shaw Farm, leave vivid, lasting impressions. Best of all are the interrelationships, particularly the wonderful tension that thrums the air between Fry and Cooper as respect and admiration war with suspicion and distrust to produce an almost erotic attraction. The early promise of Booth's debut novel, Black Dog, is fully realized here, and new readers should scurry to find his earlier books.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Stephen Booth's third novel is every bit as good as the previous two. His novels are long, at times, lugubrious, affairs. They are strong on atmosphere, depiction of locale and, most of all, highly realistic depictions of the characters.
It is truly remarkable that in so few books, Stephen Booth has soared to the highest ranks of crime writers in Great Britain. I still feel the books are way too long and have always complained about that. However, they are so beautifully written that they can completely absorb the reader into its pages so one forgets the time. This book is as highly recommended as the others.
It's January and the Edendale police are severely short-staffed thanks to terrible weather and the resulting high number of "slip and fall" injuries. Meanwhile the snow is falling and is creating havoc is a town that seems to be going through a bit of a crime wave. Beatings, missing children and a couple of dead bodies are discovered in the snow, one going unidentified and the other prompting more questions than are answered. On top of this comes an unusually high level of interest in a 57-year-old wartime plane crash that had taken place just outside of town. How had the plane crashed? Whatever became of the pilot? Why is there so much interest in it now after all this time?
Detective Constable Ben Cooper is still the hardworking, under appreciated officer who is more than willing to take on any task assigned to him. His immediate superior Detective Sergeant Diane Fry is still the antagonistic outsider who resents Cooper's popularity and hardworking ethics. Surely something's got to give between these two sometime.
This excellent series of books is continued by yet another strong entry. Powerful writing gives the feeling of being placed within sight of the beautiful peaks around Edendale.
His writing is absolutely first-class, and his use of the
English language surpasses almost any other writing most us
encounter. In this narrow field of the "psychological thriller," his command of the language, and his fresh use of
the metaphor and simile, is unparalleled.
A serious reader will have to re-read some of his passages just
for the pleasure of how the mental picture developes as the
words are flowing.
In this outing, his "heros," Ben and Diane, remain at personal
odds, and they have a difficult time working together on their
rural Derbyshire Constabulary, but a series of crimes brings
them together again to work their particular magic on violent
A couple of dead bodies are found, apparently unrelated, but
investigation leads back to a WWII crash of a British bomber
in the rural mountains, and an amazing series of crimes begins
to unfold as evidence points to an ever-widening story of crime,
deception at multiple levels, and family relationships. The
details presented and analyzed will hold the reader's attention
throughout the book.
This author also has an unusual insight into how crime victims
react to the assaults on them, and some readers will almost
shrink from absorbing the details of that process.
This story is one that should not be missed by anyone reading
in the "crime" or "thriller" field, and we also learn a lot
about life in the rural England of today.
Rush to grab this one.
The strength of this novel is in its characters: the pensive Ben, adjusting to moving out of his family's home; brusque, businesslike Diane, who seems not to feel at home anywhere; the Poles who fought for England in WWII and their descendants; and the numerous, perfectly sketched supporting characters who provide a sense of real community. There is apparently some sort of history between Ben and Diane - she is inexplicably annoyed by almost everything he does; he is very ambivalent about revealing himself to her - but its nature is never made clear. The vividly portrayed wintry landscape almost becomes a character as well. If you have read Stephen Booth's previous books, you will probably be pleased to spend time in familiar surroundings with old friends. If not, you will find an introduction to a world worth returning to.
Most recent customer reviews
Great book; delivered on time and well packaged. Thanks much !!Published 7 months ago by Maureen Hargan
This is actually the third book in the series, but one of my favourites. Booth's books in this series often seem slow at the beginning, but the suspense does build right to the... Read morePublished on Dec 9 2013 by Sir Steven
BLOOD ON THE TONGUE is another fantastic novel from Stephen Booth. Not only another fantastic novel, but one with old friends, and even some new ones. Read morePublished on Oct. 24 2002 by Susan Hartigan
Ben Cooper and Diane Fry, colleages in a rural British police department, return in the third entry in a continuing series of police procedurals. Read morePublished on Oct. 10 2002 by woodstock_ap