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by Kate Ellis
Piatkus, July 2003
325 pages
5.99 GBP
ISBN: 0749933267

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

In 5 previous Wesley Peterson police procedurals, Kate Ellis has offered us parallel crimes, one in the present day and one in the past. A PAINTED DOOM is no exception. 15-year old Lewis Hoxworthy is helping his father to clear out an old barn. He finds a metal box containing a treasure but is frightened by a painting seeming to show the gates of hell also in the hayloft. Meanwhile, an aging rock star, attempting to move into the quiet Devon village, is found dead in Terry Hoxworthy's field.

Lewis goes missing after contacting a strange man, who also had some ties to Jonny Shellmer, the dead rocker. His parents are distraught. Terry also has money problems. It's not possible to earn a living on a family farm, even in Devon, and he really wants to sell the barn, but Neil Watson, who is excavating a medieval village nearby, indicates that the barn is a medieval structure and may have to be listed, which would make it impossible to sell for redevelopment.

Then Angela, who runs a New Age shop in a nearby village, is nearly killed by an intruder. Jonny Shellmer's most famous song was called "Angel". Is Angela Jonny's angel?

Each chapter opens with a letter from the 15th century lady of the manor to her husband, away at war with one of their sons. The parallels between the occurrences of 400 years ago and today are graphically drawn. And we also get some insights into Wesley's family life as well as that of his recently widowed boss, Gerry Heffernan.

For all fans of TIME TEAM, this is a series that should not be missed. For all others, it is a pleasant police procedural with some interesting historical background in each one. The other books in the series are The Merchant's House, The Armada Boy, An Unhallowed Grave, The Funeral Boat, The Bone Garden

Reviewed by Barbara Franchi, August 2003

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