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by Hilary Bonner
St Martin's Minotaur, July 2005
304 pages
ISBN: 0312339461

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Detective Inspector Karen Meadows of the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary is called out when some divers find a skeleton inside a Nazi E-boat. The bones are wrapped in a tarp which has been secured by heavy chains. The head is not with the body. Meadows and aging reporter John Kelly are sure that the body of Clara Marshall has been found. But what of her two young daughters?

Twenty seven years earlier in 1976, John Kelly, a young journalist, idly watched as a young girl came home from school. The police were digging up the garden of the small hotel next to the large house in which the girl lived with her neurotic mother. Richard Marshall, proprietor of Parkview Hotel had been taken into custody. His wife and children had disappeared, shortly after which he had moved a new woman into the hotel. He had said that his wife took the kids and left with the Aussie backpacker. The story seemed fishy at the time, but no proof could be found to contradict his story.

Now, that young girl is a DI and her mother is in a nursing home. And reporter John Kelly is back where he started after a career on Fleet Street. But where is Richard Marshall?

When he is found, as arrogant and handsome as ever, managing a boatyard, with an adoring young woman as secretary, he is brought in for questioning, but just as he had done almost 30 years before, he stonewalls and gives nothing away. Meadows (and Kelly) are sure he is guilty, but how to prove it?

This is a good solid British police procedural, one of a series with DI Meadows and John Kelly. It is unnecessary to read previous entries in the series since WHEN THE DEAD CRY OUT is complete in itself. Enough of the back story of the two protagonists is detailed so that the book appears to be a standalone. If you are a fan of the British police procedural, this one is worth a try.

Reviewed by Barbara Franchi, May 2005

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