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Ellis, Kate - 'The Jackal Man'
Paperback: 400 pages (Aug. 2011) Publisher: Piatkus Books ISBN: 0749955937

A teenage girl walking home along a country lane is attacked, and but for the timely arrival of a van would have been strangled to death. Although she survives she cannot identify her attacker, "he wore a dog's head" is all she can say. But within a short time another girl is attacked and this time killed.

Investigating is DI Wesley Peterson along with his rather loveable boss DCI Gerry Heffernan who with his new lady love Joyce away, has reverted to type - gravy and baked bean stains abound.

Meanwhile Wesley's university friend Neil Watson has been summoned to the huge edifice, Varley Castle, to look at the collection of artefacts belonging to the late amateur Egyptologist Sir Frederick Varley. Sir Frederick's heir Caroline Varley has asked Neil to have a look at the artefacts with a view to valuation. Already in situ is Robert Delaware who is writing a biography of Sir Frederick Varley. Neil doesn't take to Robert, but I suspect he has a yen for Caroline and Robert had got there first. Not being an expert on Egyptology Neil calls in an expert in the shape of Dr Andrew Beredace from the British Museum.

This is a multi-layered tale. Interspersed with the current investigation, is the narrative of an unidentified person who relates the story of the life surrounding Egyptologist Sir Frederick Varley, in the early nineteen-hundreds. As Wesley investigates the current murders we are privy albeit, clandestinely, to series of murders in 1903.

As the current spate of murders continue, at one point Wesley seems awash with suspects, but following his nose he delves back into the past with surprising results.

This is my kind of mystery, the twists and turns had me jotting, as in solving a cryptic crossword; to say I loved it is an understatement for all you puzzle solvers out there this is for you. Kate Ellis just gets better and better, the slow unfolding of the past as the current investigation proceeds is masterly as is the characterisation as we follow the lives of DS Rachel Tracey and DC Trish Walton, and a visit from the past of Wesley's old boss Ian Petrie. More frighteningly is that this investigation touches Wesley very close to home. Highly recommended.

Lizzie Hayes, England
August 2011

Lizzie blogs at
Promoting Crime Fiction.

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 7/08/2011 11:40