Death on Demand

Death on Demand

Book - 2015
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When the newspapers turn up to cover Ruby Bright's 100th birthday, they find her seaside care home is a murder scene. Someone spirited Ruby away by wheelchair down to the water's edge on the idyllic north Norfolk coast, and strangled her. But why kill a harmless centurion? As Detective Inspector Shaw and Detective Sergeant Valentine investigate, it's clear Ruby wasn't the first victim, and nor is she the last. All trails seem to lead back to the old Parkwood Springs estate, close to the docklands. There's only one way in and one way out of the estate - through the derelict Lister Tunnel. But what is the secret within...?
Publisher: Surrey : Creme De La Crime, 2015.
Edition: First world edition.
ISBN: 9781780290775
Branch Call Number: [MYST] FIC/KELLY
Characteristics: 220 pages ; 23cm.


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Jul 10, 2016

The book opens with a crowd of onlookers oohing & aahing over the appearance of a supermoon in the sky over West Norfolk. With what follows you may be forgiven for interpreting it as an omen.
DI Peter Shaw & partner DS George Valentine are soon investigating the horrific murder of Ruby Bright at her care home. Who would kill a 100 year old? And that’s not their only problem.
Chief Constable Joyce is on their case about security for the upcoming pilgrimage to a shrine at Walsingham. Left & right leaning groups are threatening to use the event to make statements & Joyce doesn’t want any negative publicity on his watch.
Meanwhile, George may be at a crossroad. His relationship with PC Jan Clay is solid but results from his recent medical tests don’t bode well for their future.
Then the wheels officially fall off. Before they know it they’re dealing with more bodies, possible crimes at the care home, Right to Life vs. Pro-Euthanasia groups & the appearance of hundreds of pairs of sneakers hanging from power lines & trees. Oh, and George’s judgemental cat Zebra? He’s not looking too well.

There are multiple plot lines & it’s only as the book progresses that we, like Peter & George, discover which are related. Lucky for us, there is a greater conspiracy here which makes for a taut & layered mystery full of surprises & suspense. Red herrings abound & it’s tricky to tell the good guys from the bad.
This is a smart, well paced police procedural but it’s the characters that drive the narrative. The complex relationship between Peter & George is the centre around which everything else revolves. George used to work with Peter’s father & has known him since he was a kid. Now Peter is his boss. In a sense, they’re family because of that shared history & with that comes all the emotions & conflicts you expect to find between family members. Those feelings are heightened in this outing due to George’s health problems & cause both men to reflect on the death of Peter’s father.
Peripheral characters include Peter’s wife & daughter & the various people associated with the crimes. They run the gamut from octogenarians to would-be gang bangers, all well defined with distinct personalities.
The combination of layered mystery & personal drama pulls you in from the get-go. As the story moves into the final chapters, the pace picks up as pieces fall into place & truths are revealed. As in real life, some issues are resolved, others..not so much.
This is book #6 in the series & it doesn’t disappoint. I look forward to #7.


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