Murder in Adland by Bruce Beckham
2nd June 2021.
In the Lake District, at a company party for an advertising agency, one of the directors is stabbed to death in his room. This provides plenty of suspects and motives, as DI Skelgill discovers when he starts his investigation with newcomer DS Jones.
The investigation begins and continues at a gentle pace, with the detectives travelling to Edinburgh and London on a regular basis as they interview suspects and witnesses. They also spend a lot of time eating and drinking, both on the trips and back home. Like the detailed descriptions of the settings, this has the effect of slowing the pace and reducing the tension. Then, out of the blue, Skelgill solves the murder and it’s all over.
It’s an interesting opener to the series. The Lake District setting is brought lovingly to life. The two lead characters are engaging and make a good, sparky team, with a hint of sexual tension to spice things up. I enjoyed the humour that runs through the story, but would have preferred more pace and urgency in an investigation that at times seemed to meander along with little pressure to get a result.
WHEN A HIGH-FLYING ADMAN is stabbed to death on a company weekend in the English Lake District, local detective Daniel Skelgill finds himself wrenched from his rural Cumbrian comfort zone.
As the investigation unfolds, DI Skelgill is led a merry dance between London and Edinburgh, at every turn confronted by uncooperative suspects – colleagues, wife and lovers of the deceased – each of whom is possessed of motive and opportunity.
Is this a crime of passion, a professional hit, or a cleverly calculated killing borne out of greed and jealousy?
In this traditional-style whodunit, the case can only be solved by carefully piecing together the essential clues – but Skelgill is running out of time. The patience of his superiors wears thin, while the actions of an anonymous agent provocateur serve only to advance the moment when the killer must strike again.
Tags: Crime fiction, Police procedural