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Kelly, Jim - 'Death's Door'
Trade Paperback: 256 pages (Sep. 2012) Publisher: Creme de la Crime ISBN: 1780295243

Detective Inspector Peter Shaw and Detective Sergeant George Valentine are called to a suicide. Marianne Osbourne has been a manic depressive for some years. Her husband and daughter have tried to reason with her, until one day she is found dead on her bed. The police soon find a coincidence - that Marianne was one of the people on East Hill island in 1994 when an Australian life-guard was stabbed to death.

The new, very ambitious chief constable has asked Shaw to pick a cold case so that new DNA testing techniques can prove who killed Shane White, the Australian, on that day. They have male DNA from a towel. There were seventy-five people on the island and thirty-five were male. Five have since died but DNA has been taken from close relatives and the thirty remaining are being invited into the police station to be checked. This should prove who committed the murder seventeen years previously. Valentine isn't happy, because after the events in the previous book, DEATH TOLL, he assumed he would get his old inspector rank back, but this hasn't happened. The chief constable is also threatening both Shaw and Valentine that if they don't get a good result from the DNA screening they will lose their positions in King's Lynn. In addition, Shaw who lost an eye in a freak accident a few years ago, is experiencing a problem with his good eye.

Things become more complicated when the pathology report finds that Marianne killed herself with a cyanide pill which seems to be decades old and her jaw was broken, suggesting someone helped her take her life. Whilst coping with all these developments, there are Wind Farms being built with Greenpeace and activists, including Marianne's daughter, demonstrating and trying to gain access to the securely guarded farms.

This is the fourth novel in this series. I'm always surprised that Philip Dryden the reporter who appeared in Kelly's other series, has never appeared in the Shaw/Valentine books. Shaw is very much a loner, not helped by living with his wife and daughter on the beach in a converted cafe and he frustrates the more fallible Valentine who is all for the easy life.

DEATH'S DOOR is a well researched book and the author captures the eerie misty Norfolk area very well. I enjoy Mr Kelly's novels and recommend them as a good mix of mystery and crime.

Geoff Jones, England
November 2012

Details of the author's other books with links to reviews can be found on the Books page.
More European crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 3/11/2012 11:57