Mysteries – Book XXI
2 February 2017/ ISBN 9780349413099
by Rachel A Hyde
Staniland wrote several literary masterpieces until his wife
committed suicide in the same manner as one of his characters.
Since then he has lived as a recluse, but now a young writer
called Zac Wilkinson has completed his biography and it is about
to be published. Before that happens, he is found murdered,
and there appear to be links to a couple being found dead in
a nearby caravan park. What is the connection between these
deaths and a sinister puppet show re-enacting the murder of
Mary Field, a Victorian case which inspired one of Staniland’s
own novels? Wesley Peterson investigates.
I look forward to these books and often wish there was more
than one a year, but then perhaps they would not be so well
constructed and enjoyable. Firstly, they contain tortuous and
involving plots, full of red herrings, twists and unexpected
developments. They are mysteries throughout, never veering off
into other genres and are nicely filled with detection. Secondly,
as with all series, we get to find out what else the characters
are up to. Wesley worries about his wife who is recovering from
cancer and is eager to get to the bottom of whatever his son
is up to. Rachel gloomily plans her wedding, Neil is given a
spooky new dig site, Gerry sees a face from the past and Della
tries to obtain Staniland for her book club. Thirdly, the author
draws a very accurate picture of life in modern Devon, which
is where I live. She shows its problems with being a rural backwater
ignored by the government as well as its beauty, mystery and
attraction as a vacation spot. This all adds up to a thoroughly
enjoyable whole, especially when you count in the unusual mix
of the past and present spiced with a touch of the bizarre.
Twenty-one books and still as fresh as ever, may this series
continue for many years.