Cathedral of Lies by John Pye

5th November 2021.

This book has been on my Kindle for some time, but I’m pleased I finally got around to reading it. Unlike many police procedural books today, this one has everyday detectives going about their work without a traumatised cop in sight. It’s also set in 1986, which means more reliance on police work than forensics to solve the crimes.

It’s a complex story that starts with the escape from an Exeter court of drug baron, Sweeney, who takes his barrister, Dunn, as a prisoner. Then a mutilated body is found in the Staffordshire countryside, near to where Sweeney was born. From here the story becomes complicated and it’s clear that nothing is as it seems. The rest of the book is more thriller than police procedural as the action shifts to Ghent in Belgium and a historical artefact that could be worth millions. Meanwhile, in England, an assassin is torturing associates of Sweeney.

It’s exciting stuff that keeps you turning the pages as you wait for the next twist in the investigations. The characters of DI Taylor, DC Deakin and PC Kim Harding are likable, engaging and realistic as they battle the odds, the Belgian police and the crooks to solve an old mystery. There are plenty of lies and treachery to keep you guessing and it’s all neatly bundled up after a dramatic climax.

I enjoyed the straightforward, no nonsense narrative, which kept the pace brisk and exciting, and the intriguing plot, which is a little different from the usual, and better for it. More please.


Exeter Crown Court – 1986 – a multimillion pound drugs trial. The blast from a powerful handgun brings a halt to proceedings.
Three days and two hundred miles separate the finding of a mutilated corpse in a Staffordshire beauty spot – there seems no connection.
Interesting police work and pathology establish a shocking and unexpected history to the corpse and then another body is discovered. Detective inspector Doug Taylor knows that plenty of long days lie ahead.
Sinister characters from different walks of life emerge as tales of rape, murder, corruption and horrific torture develop.
A vigilante chase crosses the North Sea. Peril and intrigue loiter at every corner as the struggle to determine the criminal mastermind’s objectives intensifies with terrifying events in two different countries.
Matters become all the more curious when a bizarre secret held by a cathedral and a church appear pivotal to the core of the affair – it is a secret surrounded by lies, a secret which stretches back decades and one which the main players will go to any lengths to obtain.

Cathedral of Lies by John Pye

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