No Simple Death by Valerie Keogh
21st May 2020. 4 Stars
I was drawn to this police procedural, set mainly in Dublin, by the quality of the writing when I read a sample. It wasn’t long before the plight of Edel Johnson, whose husband had mysteriously disappeared, pulled me into an intricate and intriguing plot that had me as baffled and confused as the two main detectives, West and Andrews.
They’re a capable and likeable duo, who made small, painstaking discoveries in their efforts to solve the original murder, which then led to a second killing. Both put Edel at the heart of the enquiry, but was she really responsible? Detective West, who’d taken a shine to the abandoned wife, struggled to keep his emotions at bay as he tried to unravel the mystery.
The characters and the plot carried the story at a steady, somewhat meticulous pace. It was like peeling back the layers of an onion until suddenly it all started to make sense. Then the hunt for the killer gathered momentum.
But I was hooked long before that by the cocktail of suspense, mystery and the possibility of one man’s emotions destroying a careful, painstaking investigation.
This was a police procedural with a fresh voice and a satisfying plot. There was no effort to impress, use traumatised detectives or make the story stark and gritty. It was good honest storytelling that left me feeling satisfied, entertained and happy to read more books by this author.
For once, the publisher’s blurb was accurate – it was a gripping crime mystery.
When Detective Garda Sergeant Mike West is called to investigate a murder in a Dublin graveyard, suspicion immediately falls on a local woman, Edel Johnson, whose husband disappeared some months before. But then she disappears.
Evidence leads West to a small village in Cornwall, but when he checks in to an Inn, he finds Edel has arrived before him. Her explanation seems to make sense but as West begins to think his suspicions of her are unfounded, she disappears again.
Is she guilty? West, fighting an unsuitable attraction, doesn’t want to believe it. But the case against her is growing. Back in Dublin, his team uncover evidence of blackmail and illegal drugs involving Edel’s missing husband. When another man is murdered, she, once again, comes under suspicion.
Finally, the case is untangled, but is it the outcome West really wants?
Tags: Crime fiction, Murder mystery, Police procedural