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ECHOES OF SILENCE: A mystery featuring Superintendant Gil Mayo
by Marjorie Eccles
Thomas Dunne, September 2003
224 pages
ISBN: 0312308809

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Superintendent Gil Mayo is not a dominant character in this book. He does have a cameo role, but the action focuses on Richmond and the Denshaw family. DI Tom Richmond has decided to transfer back to Yorkshire. By doing so he hopes to finally move beyond the ghosts of his past. Several years before, his daughter, Beth was murdered here. To compound the guilt, his ex-wife, Isobel, confessed to murdering her and then killed herself. Richmond never believed the confession but was unable to investigate the case due to this personal connection. Shortly after his arrival, he runs into a member of the Denshaw family Ė this is the family into which Isobel remarried, and he realizes that he will use only excuse to find the murderer. Richmond always felt that someone in the Denshaw family was the true murderer; that Isobelís guilt was due to placing her daughter in a situation where she could get murdered. Several members of the Denshaw family agree that Isobel was not likely the murderer.

Richmondís reappearance has arrived at a bad time for the Denshaws. Freya, a former model and the current matriarch, has decided to hire a ghostwriter to tell their story. Freya is primarily interested in reliving the glory of her past and not concerned with dragging up the past and the death of a little girl. Wyn Austwick, the ghostwriter, wants what will create the best story and is attempting to stir up controversy within the family. This situation comes to a head and things get ugly. When Wyn is murdered, the list of suspects is numerous. Not only was Wyn a romance writer and a ghostwriter, she was a blackmailer in her spare time. Her death does allow Richmond the opportunity to reinvestigate Bethís murder even though the case remains official closed. When another body is found, Richmond must accelerate his investigation before any other innocent people are murdered.

ECHOES OF SILENCE is a solid British police procedural. As many books tend to be, this book is character driven rather than plot driven; the actions and thoughts of the characters are the true drive behind the plot. There is a real sense of character and location. While Yorkshire is presented as a bustling town, it also has a small town feel to it. Considering the book is less than 250 pages, the characters are strongly developed and compelling. Their quest of finding closure and resolving inner conflicts is absorbing.

DI Richmond is an interesting character. His loss and guilt drive him; yet, part of him remains optimistic. Maybe by finally solving Bethís murder he will be able to find piece in his life. In fact, he has already found someone he would like to attempt to make a future with. Yet, there is something about Richmond that remains dark. Although Richmond wants to move forward, part of him feels this will be unlikely. He is simply too jaded to believe in coincidences and happy endings.

Marjorie Eccles is the author of numerous novels and short stories. ECHOES OF SILENCE is the latest book in her Superintendent Gil Mayo series.

Reviewed by Sarah Dudley, September 2003

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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