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Posts Tagged ‘J M Gregson’

Watermarked (Lambert and Hook Detective series Book 7)

A woman’s body is found floating down the River Severn.  The body has been on the water for several days so it is not a pretty sight.  Lambert and Hook must first identify the body and then interview the woman’s nearest and dearest and see who might have wanted her dead.  Identifying her is fairly easy as a woman fitting her description has been reported missing.  Her daughter doesn’t seem too upset and her husband is in Spain on a golfing holiday.

No one seems to have wanted her dead apart from her son-in-law who wants her money to bolster up his business and her down and out son who blames her for his father’s breakdown and death.  But things are never quite what they seem and some painstaking police work will be needed before Lambert and Hook can identify the murderer.

This is an excellent series – well written with intriguing plots and well drawn characters.  The series can be read out of order.  This is number seven in the series if you do want to read them in order.  If you are looking for a series of crime novels with not too much violence and bad language then you could do worse than try this series or the same author’s Peach and Blake series.

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To Kill a Wife (Inspector Peach Series Book 3)

Verna Hume is not exactly a popular person.  She is manipulative and cruel.  Rather too many people in her life would be happy to see her dead including her long suffering husband, Martin who has got to the point of wanting her dead even though she has finally agreed to a divorce.  Martin returns home after a weekend conference and finds her suffocated.

DI Percy Peach and D S Blake are soon on the trail and each of them have their own preferred suspects.  Was it Verna’s supercilious lover Hugh Pearson?  Or her father who seems to be afraid of her?  What about her sister, Sue or perhaps another lover – a renowned surgeon at the local hospital?

I enjoyed this carefully plotted murder mystery and failed completely to work out who had done it partly because I decided who I wanted to have done it far too early on in the book.  I like the police characters in this well written story.  All the books in the series can be read out of order though it is interesting to follow the development of the relationship between the two main characters if you read them in the order in which they were published.

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Who Saw Him Die? (Inspector Peach Series Book 1)

I have read most of this series but not this first book which introduces Inspector Percy Peach so I was glad to see it available as an e-book.  Tom Harrison jointly owns his large family home with his son Trevor and his wife and two children.

Trevor is a social worker and takes in people who have just been released from prison and helps them get back on their feet.  Tom doesn’t particularly like the set up and when Trevor shows him plans to extend the enterprise Tom announces that he will sell the house rather than share it with former prisoners.

A sudden death upsets everyone in the house and the advent of the police turning over all aspects of their lives upsets everyone as well as the fragile equilibrium within the house.  When more violence strikes everything is up in the air and Trevor’s project may even be in jeopardy leaving the former prisoners with the unenviable job of finding somewhere else to live.

This is an interesting story with a rather different setting from the ordinary crime novel.  Having read others in the series I don’t think it shows Percy Peach at his best but maybe I am biased. Though I do think the uneasy relationships between the people who share the house was very well done. I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I have enjoyed other in the series so I wouldn’t recommend reading this book first even though it was published first.

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Murder at the Lodge

Percy Peach delights in tormenting his superior ‘Tommy’ Tucker with strange facts and figures showing that Freemasons are more likely to commit serious crimes than those who aren’t Freemasons.  When someone is murdered in the car park of the hotel during the local Lodge’s Ladies’ Night, Percy is highly amused and takes pleasure in treating his superior as a potential suspect as he was at the social event.

As Peach and D S Lucy Blake investigate this intriguing case they uncover secrets many of those at the gathering would prefer to leave buried in oblivion.  I like the police characters in this well written police procedural series and I like the humour as well.  The crime in this book is as ever complex and the suspects motivations are well done and believable. I didn’t work out who was responsible for the murder so I found it interesting following the steps of the police investigation.

I recommend this book and this series to anyone who enjoys conventional police procedural novels with interesting characters, touches of humour and well constructed plots.  The violence isn’t too graphic and there is little bad language which may well recommend the series to some readers.  The series can be read in any order.

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Accident by Design

Walter Fletcher is an independent and active elderly man.  His family want him to sell the family home and move into sheltered accommodation.  He refuses but then is found dead at the foot of a ladder.  His grand- daughter – home form university for the funeral, contacts the police as she believes that what appears to have been a tragic accident was actually murder.

Lambert and Hook find themselves immersed in an investigation which becomes more and more obscure.  The only certain thing about it is that the ‘accident’ was actually murder.  They have plenty if suspects – his three adult children and a few close friends.  His children are singularly unpleasant characters who seem to be focussed on the money which is tied up in Walter’s house believing that they are entitled to their share of it.

The author expertly brings to life the tensions which affect many families even if all on the surface seems to calm and peaceful.  All have secrets which they do not want revealed to the others but is one of them a murderer?  I enjoyed listening to this audio version of this story, expertly read by Gordon Griffin.  It is number nine in the Lambert and Hook series.

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Lambert and Hook have their work cut out when Samuel Jackson is murdered on location while is he producing the latest episode in a long running TV detective series.  How can they possibly know whether what they’re seeing in genuine reactions or actors doing what they do best?  Sam himself is a thoroughly dislikeable corpse who has made enemies of just about everyone who has come within his orbit.  Everyone involved in the production is therefore a potential suspect.

In this well written crime novel the reader sees the investigation mainly from the perspective of the people questioned by the police rather than reading about how the investigation is going from the perspective of the police so the reader is able to work out for themselves who is the likely murderer.

I enjoyed the book though I don’t think it is as good as some in this series – possibly because I prefer to read about the thoughts of the detectives involved.  However it is still worth reading for its interesting characters and touches of humour.  I did work out who the murderer was quite early on but it didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the book. I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley for review.

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A Good Walk Spoiled

Robert Cullis is director of research and development at the Gloucester Chemical Company.  One night he is kidnapped at knife point and threatened with dire consequences if he does not stop testing on animals at the company.  Then a few weeks later after a company golf match Robert drops dead.  I there a connection between the two events or is the murderer someone closer to Robert?

Lambert and Hook have plenty of suspects, from the dead man’s wife to his cast off girl friends, not to speak of people he has upset at work. The police know little about members of the local animal rights group but Robert was told that they had a mole in the labs at the chemical company – could this person – whoever it is – have taken more permanent action than just the threats which have already been made?

This is a fascinating story which doesn’t show animal rights activists in a good light.  It also paints a picture of a man who is charming on the surface but who stops at nothing to get what he wants.  I was listening to the audio book version and it kept me awake quite a while past my usual bed time as I had to know who had committed the murder.  This is a well written series and the books can be read as standalone novels.

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