Murder on the Marsh by Anne Penketh
23rd January 2020. 3 stars.
This is a gentle, easy to read, cosy police procedural set in Norfolk. Two deaths – one a child, the other a waitress at a hotel – seem to have nothing in common until the investigation by DI Clayton uncovers a variety of connections. These involve local folklore, the supernatural, a seal sanctuary and a mysterious Frenchman who has disappeared. Being a village, people are tight-lipped, which doesn’t help the investigation.
While the story maintained my interest, the investigation seemed to run at such an even pace it lost some of the tension and suspense. The main three detectives were likeable enough, but never really grabbed me or made me sit up. They had their issues and problems to contend with, sure, but these didn’t really affect the investigations enough to add a little more conflict or excitement to the mix.
The steady, methodical pace took the story down several blind alleys before it gathered momentum towards the climax when the suspect was captured and apprehended. I’m not sure why the story continued for several more chapters to deal with some ‘police issues’. I don’t think it added anything to the main plot and left me with a feeling of anti-climax.
A BOY’S BODY IS FOUND IN A CHURCHYARD. HIS HEART HAS BEEN CUT OUT . . .
DI Sam Clayton has never dealt with such an extreme crime in the quiet Norfolk villages that are part of his patch. When a waitress, Emma Dawson, disappears, it looks like the police might have a serial killer on their hands. Emma seems to have been part of cultish group obsessed with contacting the dead via a medieval mystic. But a mysterious Frenchman and one of the local nature wardens are also suspects. The mystery is further complicated by the locals’ reluctance to share their secrets with the police. DI Clayton’s team also harbour some tragic secrets and it looks like only one of his detectives will be kept on, even if they do catch the vicious killer.
When another child disappears, DI Clayton faces a race against time to prevent any further crimes. Not only that, but he must confront local superstitions and keep his team under control as violence threatens to spiral out of control.