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Sins of the Fathers
Chief Inspector Woodend # 17

by Sally Spencer

Severn House, long known for their excellent hardcover books are now releasing paperback editions too. So, if you cannot find what you want in a library or book club you can buy it in a store. This is Sally Spencer's seventeenth book about Detective Chief Inspector Woodend, who this time comes up against the mutilated corpse of Bradley Pine, co-owner of a local mattress factory and rising politician. Three years previously, Pine, his business partner and the firm's accountant were climbing when they got into difficulties. With his partner dead and the other man out of the country, only a handful of people really know what happened on that mountain – and how it casts a long shadow even today.

This is one of those easy-to-read procedurals that always remind me why I started reading crime fiction, and continue to enjoy it. Down-to-earth Woodend is a likeable protagonist who serves as a perfect foil to the more complicated folk around him, all of whom seem to have a closetful of skeletons and their own personal demons. Add to this a lively plot and a storyteller style and you have the reason why there are so many books in this series. This is not the best one to start with however, as it contains plot spoilers and connections to various other books. This is a series that definitely needs to be read from the beginning.

The only thing missing here is any sense of the period at all. I kept thinking it was a modern novel, and apart to the odd reference to things like unfiltered cigarettes nothing served to make me feel that I was reading a historical novel with a definite date. Woodend's female sergeant is treated as “one of the boys”, as is a sari-wearing police surgeon. This is a high number in a long series so I expect Woodend and his team to be a close unit but everybody behaves in a very modern manner towards everything – a flaw in a good book, and rather a surprising one. This notwithstanding, I aim to read the series properly now from the beginning. If you like procedurals, this is an entertaining tale.

Reviews of other titles in this series

The Salton Killings #1
The Golden Mile to Murder #5
Sins of the Fathers #17

The Book

Severn House
March 2007
Trade Paperback
13: 9780727891822
Historical Crime - 1965, Lancashire, England
Amazon UK

The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2007
© 2007