First Sentence: Atherton was singing as he drove.
Zellah Wilding is smart, attends a very good school and has a strict father who tries to keep her on the right path and out of trouble. She is also pregnant and dead. Inspector Bill Slider and his team are out to find her killer.
With each new Bill Slider book, my love this series and CHE's writing is renewed. There is a great opening sentence and hook which immediately introduces some of the main characters and gives the reader a bit of their background and relationships.
With the book's opening sentence, I realized how much I had missed reading about these characters. The characters are all well-drawn and fully developed. But more than that, I appreciate that the Slider team like and respect each other. There are no anti-social, angst-driven acrimonious characters here. Lest you think this might make the characters boring, they are anything but.
One of my favorites is Porson, Sliders superior, who supports and respects his men, but can mangle phrases such as "It's the early day that catches the worm." And "There's more than one way to butter a parsnip." I think CHE must have enormous fun writing Porson's dialogue, but he is not a foolish character, and that takes particular skill. The dialogue is very well done. I occasionally am caught by a Britishism but can always figure them out. She does write in the dialect of the characters, which add realism and personality, but didn't slow down my reading.
The story provides the reader a strong sense of place. One thing I love about English mysteries is the history of England itself. In this case, the crime takes place at Wormwood Scrubs, a name I know from reading historical mysteries. Bits of area's histories are seamlessly intertwined into the story. London is not a city I know well, having been there only once for a short time, yet I always had a sense of where the characters were.
The story's plot was so well done. This is not another serial killer book, but a classic murder investigation. There is one murder of a young woman followed by focused police procedure to find the killer. What a nice change.
Cynthia Harrod-Eagles is one of those writers I feel should be much better know and more widely read. The book jacket compares Slider to John Harvey's Charlie Resnick. I don't know that I completely agree with the character comparison, but I would compare the quality of both author's writing. My only hope is that there will continue to be new Bill Slider books for many years to come.
FELL PURPOSE (Pol. Prod-Bill Slider-England-Cont) - Ex
Harrod-Eagles, Cynthia - 12th in series
Severn House, 2009, UK Hardcover - ISBN: 9780727868428