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River Deep Paperback – Feb 28 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Allison & Busby (Feb. 28 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0749083425
  • ISBN-13: 978-0749083427
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 2 x 17.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 200 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,563,682 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"River Deep is a simmering mystery, set in a seemingly peaceful town in England. But a terrible murder has committed, of a man who cannot be positively identified -- and with another man gone missing. A female coroner must question her instincts concerning the death, before more crime is unleashed upon the defenseless village in this tense page-turner." -- The Midwest Book Review's "The Bookwatch"

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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Hardcover
In the middle of making sure that all the inhabitants of River Terrace in the historic town of Shrewsbury have evacuated (the River Severn has burst its banks), the police make the startling discovery of a body in one of the houses. The house that the body was found in had been rented by James Humphreys, and the police, naturally, assume that the body is that of Humphreys; except that when Humphreys' wife turns up, she categorically denies that the body is that of her husband's. So if the body isn't James Humphreys', what was the dead man doing in the house that Humphreys rented? And why was he wearing Humphreys' clothes? And when the autopsy shows that the dead man was murdered in the house (the cellar actually), and then left there, Coroner Martha Gunn discovers the this particular case has captured her interest in a way that few others have. And she cannot help but want to be part of the investigation. And so, even though she shouldn't, Martha finds herself taking a hand in the investigation...
I had high expectations of "River Deep," unfortunately, my hopes were not met. The plot was a very intriguing one, unfortunately the pacing was really off -- the flow was uneven and the story unfolded in fits and starts. And there was a scarcity of clues and suspects (red herrings or otherwise) -- this really frustrated me! Also halfway through the book, the novel's heroine, Martha Gunn, seems to have figured out what was going on before the police. Now how she was able to do this really stumped me -- perhaps I'm not as intelligent as I think I am! -- but I began to feel really sympathetic towards the blundering in the dark police officers. The other thing that frustrated me was that the authour had tagged on a small stalking subplot to the novel.
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Format: Hardcover
River Deep is a simmering mystery, set in a seemingly peaceful town in England. But a terrible murder has committed, of a man who cannot be positively identified - and with another man gone missing. A female coroner must question her instincts concerning the death, before more crime is unleashed upon the defenseless village in this tense page-turner.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 8 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
intriguing plot marred by bad pacing... May 27 2004
By tregatt - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
In the middle of making sure that all the inhabitants of River Terrace in the historic town of Shrewsbury have evacuated (the River Severn has burst its banks), the police make the startling discovery of a body in one of the houses. The house that the body was found in had been rented by James Humphreys, and the police, naturally, assume that the body is that of Humphreys; except that when Humphreys' wife turns up, she categorically denies that the body is that of her husband's. So if the body isn't James Humphreys', what was the dead man doing in the house that Humphreys rented? And why was he wearing Humphreys' clothes? And when the autopsy shows that the dead man was murdered in the house (the cellar actually), and then left there, Coroner Martha Gunn discovers the this particular case has captured her interest in a way that few others have. And she cannot help but want to be part of the investigation. And so, even though she shouldn't, Martha finds herself taking a hand in the investigation...
I had high expectations of "River Deep," unfortunately, my hopes were not met. The plot was a very intriguing one, unfortunately the pacing was really off -- the flow was uneven and the story unfolded in fits and starts. And there was a scarcity of clues and suspects (red herrings or otherwise) -- this really frustrated me! Also halfway through the book, the novel's heroine, Martha Gunn, seems to have figured out what was going on before the police. Now how she was able to do this really stumped me -- perhaps I'm not as intelligent as I think I am! -- but I began to feel really sympathetic towards the blundering in the dark police officers. The other thing that frustrated me was that the authour had tagged on a small stalking subplot to the novel. This was NOT resolved at all, and Martha, the victim of this stalking simply shrugs it off!! I must be the only person to have found this development baffling and disturbing since neither the authour nor her editors were too worried about this. Ultimately however it was the poor and uneven pacing together with the scarcity of clues and suspects that made this a 2 star read for me.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Had Promise, But. . . May 29 2008
By Kathleen Chamberlain - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I began this book with high hopes: the cover blurb sounded interesting, the premise of a female coroner-investigator was intriguing, and the book didn't seem to have been a "best-seller" anywhere (the words "best-seller" being a tip-off to mainstream blandness and predictability). Plus, I was really in the market for a good, new voice on the British police-procedural scene. I've read all the books by my current faves, so until they start writing faster, I'm always on the lookout for fresh meat. Thus I was primed to like Priscilla Masters.

Alas. My first Priscilla Masters novel will probably be my last. I heard alarm bells on the opening page, when the narrator seemed to like one ponderous, trite line so well ("You cannot tame nature") that she followed it almost immediately with another ("You cannot contain nature"). But I tried not to listen to the alarms because, as I said, I wanted to find a compelling new writer, and besides, it's not fair to dismiss a story based on a couple of cliches. So I pressed on, keeping up my optimism even while picking a few more nits (such as a police surgeon in her 50s being described as "elderly").

By the middle of the book, though, I had reluctantly given up hope. If style is not Masters' strength, neither is plot. This one is as leaky, debris-filled, and over-the-top as the flooding river Severn with which the novel opens. I was willing to accept (sort of) that the cops would let the coroner muscle into their investigations the way our heroine Martha does, since what do I know from coroners? Maybe they *do* call up senior detectives and offer suggestions on how to investigate a major case. Maybe they *do* carry on their own undercover operations without telling anyone or without worrying whether their actions might eventually compromise a trial. For all I know, the cops might even allow the coroner to watch them interrogate suspects, the way they do here.

But would the cops really let the coroner *conduct* the interrogations of major suspects in a case where guilt (let alone conviction) is by no means assured -- and where the cops haven't even had a chance to investigate the coroner's seemingly off-the-wall murder theory? Wouldn't a defense attorney go to town over this sort of irregularity?

Well, maybe the legal system works this way in Shrewsbury. And even if it doesn't, no one ever said that a detective novel had to be totally factually accurate to be good. But it does have to be psychologically accurate to be good, and this book isn't. Like a previous Amazon reviewer, I was baffled by Martha's non-response to being stalked (she has only a few fleeting moments of concern, despite living alone with her two pre-teens in a significantly isolated house). And as for the solution to the murders. . .I suppose it's possible that people might think and act in this way, but before I can be convinced, I need a lot more psychological exploration of character than this book provides (or at least more of the authorial legerdemain that allows a writer to pull off an implausible premise.) Paging Patricia Highsmith. . .
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Slow going. Feb. 25 2014
By AB - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the first book I've read by Priscilla Masters. I like a book with a lot of dialog, as I feel they read "faster". This is not one of those. I feel like I am plodding along until I eventually I reach the end. It seems like I am reading for hours and hours, but barely finish a chapter. I purchased the 2nd volume in the series at the same time I bought this one, so I will wait to completely pass judgement until I finish this one --- if I ever do.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A simmering mystery June 6 2004
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
River Deep is a simmering mystery, set in a seemingly peaceful town in England. But a terrible murder has committed, of a man who cannot be positively identified - and with another man gone missing. A female coroner must question her instincts concerning the death, before more crime is unleashed upon the defenseless village in this tense page-turner.
The atmospheric setting and an intriguing main character made this book shine Jan. 2 2011
By Cathy G. Cole - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First Line: Nature is a free spirit.

The River Severn is in full flood, and sections of the ancient city of Shrewsbury-- home of the venerable fictional sleuth Brother Cadfael-- are cut off from the rest of the world. When the rising waters flood the basement of a riverside cottage causing a corpse to be discovered, Coroner Martha Gunn is among the first to be called to the scene.

When the post mortem proves that Gunn was correct in thinking the man's death was a homicide, the next hurdle is identifying him-- which proves much trickier than anyone anticipated.

Widow Martha Gunn often feels like an outsider when faced with the bond her twins, Sam and Sukey, share. As coroner, her hours can fluctuate, so she has a Swedish au pair to help her keep their home and routines running smoothly.

Coroners are not supposed to investigate a case, but this one is so baffling that Martha can't help but do some very surreptitious sleuthing. I liked watching Martha uncover information and then subtly work the police and the pathologist to look at the case from a different perspective in order for them to stumble over the clues, too.

Masters packs strength after strength into this book. From the atmospheric city of Shrewsbury battling a raging river, to a plot that twists and turns around a dead man's identity, to a strong-willed main character. The only flaw that bothered me was the fact that Martha Gunn is the Empress of All Characters-- all the rest paled into insignificance around her-- with the amusing exception of her daughter Sukey and Agnetha the Swedish au pair who had an obsession with the rock group ABBA.

After such a strong start to a series, I'm looking forward to reading more of Martha Gunn's investigations.


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