Another Review at MyShelf.Com

The Salton Killings
Chief Inspector Woodend Mystery #1
Sally Spencer (aka Alan Rustage)

Severn House Digital
2012 / ASIN: B008MX0HRI [kindle]
British / Police Procedural / England / Contemporary

Reviewed by
LJ Roberts

First Sentence: The rain, driven by a relentless wind, clawed mercilessly at her face.

Chief Inspector Woodend is sent from London to a village in Cheshire. The strangled body of a teenage girl has been found buried in the salt store. Working with the local police and intuition, Woodend believes the victim’s best friend knows more than she’s saying. He also believes there is a connection to a similar murder a generation earlier.

Who knows why I’ve only just discovered this series, but who cares. I read for character and have now found new characters to love: Inspector Woodend and his second, Sgt. Bob Rutter. The two are a wonderful contrast; Woodend being an old-school, shoe leather investigator and Rutter being an armchair detective who believes in solving crimes through science. There’s a wonderful scene where Woodend tells Rutter that, in addition to read Sherlock Holmes, t-he should read Dickens as “its people that matter”.

Spencer provides and excellent sense of place that puts you within the story and dialogue that makes the characters come to life. We learn who Woodend is through very naturally placed bits in the story, rather than one long exposition. We are given another fascinating character who imparts an interesting perspective and observation on civilization and life. Any author who makes me contemplate his views, is an author worth my reading.

One criticism—to me there was an incredibly weak plot point which should have been obvious, or accounted for much earlier, in the investigation. However, there was also a well-done plot twist which somewhat balanced it out.

The Salton Killings was a book I very much enjoyed. Happily, this was the first in the series, so I look forward to reading more about CI Woodend.

Reviews of other titles in this series

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

Posted 2012
© 2012