Evans, Geraldine - 'Love Lies Bleeding'
Inspector Rafferty gets himself into trouble yet again by speaking before thinking, in LOVE LIES BLEEDING, the eighth in this humorous police procedural series set in Essex.
A young and beautiful woman staggers into the police station covered in blood declaring she's just murdered her husband. The woman is hospitalised and cannot speak for several days and Rafferty and his sidekick, straight-laced sergeant Llewellyn, have no way of checking her story. Rafferty, smitten by the woman's otherworldly loveliness tends to believe she's innocent. He admits as much to his partner Abra but makes it too obvious that he's slightly haunted by the woman's beauty. Shortly after, Abra vanishes on an errand of mercy, but Rafferty becomes worried he's blown his relationship for good, especially after the events in BAD BLOOD.
The suspected murderess turns out to be Felicity Raine and indeed her husband has been stabbed to death. However she recants her confession and Rafferty discovers there are plenty more suspects who had more of a motive to kill the successful businessman, Raymond Raine. Especially as due to a complex will, Felicity will not inherit anything.
The solution to who killed Raine and why, has a very Agatha Christie feel to it and such is the number of suspects, I can imagine Poirot gathering them altogether and eliminating them one by one. Red herrings abound and I changed my mind several times on the identity of the killer.
Rafferty is a very likeable lead character and one you can imagine exists, as he fumbles in his personal life and tries not to jump too far of the evidence in his professional life. Llewellyn is a bit severe but provides the brains to Rafferty's intuition. They complement each other well and their banter provides a lot of humour as does Rafferty's thoughts, which he often wisely keeps to himself.
A fine traditional mystery, in this series which has now entered its second decade and shows no sign of flagging.
Karen Meek, England