Masters, Priscilla - 'River Deep' (Unabridged Audiobook) read by Patricia Gallimore
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RIVER DEEP introduces Dr. Martha Gunn, Coroner for the border town of Shrewsbury, also home to the fictional Brother Cadfael, centuries before.
RIVER DEEP begins with the terrible flooding of the town by the River Severn. As the river rises, cutting off the town, a body floats out of a cellar in the riverside property of Marine Terrace and bumps into a policeman checking the premises. The body has no ID on it but it seems natural to assume that it is that of the man currently renting the property. That is, until his wife turns up and denies that it is him. Meanwhile another man has gone missing, last seen near Oswestry after hitching a ride home from Shrewsbury where his van has been stranded. His wife is asked to identify the body from Marine Terrace and again it's not her husband and when the police finally do discover the true identity of the body it just confuses matters more. Itís Martha who becomes more involved in the case than she really and legally ought to, who begins to work out why the dead man was found in Marine Terrace and what's happened to the plumber from Oswestry.
As well as following Martha on her detection, the reader is also drawn into her life. A widow for nine years, she lives in 'The White House' with twelve-year-old twins Sam and Sukey, a dog and a Swedish au-pair. The house is quite isolated and someone is leaving her little odd gifts with a note saying 'Message to Martha'. This is a mysterious thread, which is left unresolved for now. There is also speculation to be made into which of Martha's currently platonic relationships might develop into more than friendship in a subsequent book.
At the heart of RIVER DEEP is a baffling whodunit. Even when I thought I'd finally sussed the answer a further twist meant I was quite wrong. As well as this involving plot I enjoyed reading about Martha and her home life and though it's hard to imagine Shrewsbury being murder central, I hope that there are many more cases for Martha to investigate.
Patricia Gallimore does a fantastic job with the narration. Her male character voices are so unlike her own voice the reader could be forgiven in thinking that there was a second narrator involved. There's a bonus with this audio version in that there is an interview between author and narrator on the ninth cassette. A gripping listen and a great production from Clipper Audio.
Karen Meek, England