Maeve Kerrigan is fast becoming established as one of the most enjoyable detectives in current crime fiction. Young and ambitious, with a normal life, no alcohol or drug problems, a lovely regular boyfriend and a family who love her - what a refreshing change from the usual diet of angst-ridden mavericks.
When Vita Kennford and her 15-year-old daughter Laura are found dead, Maeve and her colleagues have to decide whether they were the real targets or whether someone had been out to get revenge on Philip Kennford, amoral barrister and serial adulterer. This is in many ways a rather traditional detective story with suspicion falling on a small cast of suspects all connected to the victim in some way. Again a pleasant change from the serial killer/gangland crime that has overshadowed the murder mystery genre in recent years. There are shades of the Christie country house mystery here, and that's high praise from a dedicated Christie fan like myself.
The book is told in the first person, so we are treated to a DC-eye view of detection and to Maeve's rather wicked form of observational humour. We see Maeve's relationships with her colleagues develop, particularly with her DI, Josh Derwent, an unreconstructed male chauvinist but with a soft side that makes him an enjoyable character nonetheless. There are a couple of running threads from the two previous Kerrigan books, The Burning and The Reckoning, so though this works well as a stand-alone novel, I would recommend new readers to read them in order to get the full background.
Jane Casey has now become one of those authors whose latest book is an anticipated treat and this one didn't disappoint. With each successive book her style has developed and now shows a sure-footedness that makes me hope that Maeve Kerrigan will be with us for a long time to come. Highly recommended.