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THE MARRIAGE HEARSE
by Kate Ellis
Piatkus, March 2006
320 pages
18.99GBP
ISBN: 0749907835


Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

DI Wesley Peterson is seldom shocked by the things people do to each other. But when he arrives at the scene of the murder of the lovely Kirsten, he is dismayed. Kirsten was about to be married; she was found strangled on her wedding day, her beautiful gown hanging near the body.

However, when he begins the investigation, Wes learns that not everyone was enamored with the beautiful young woman. Kirsten could be cold and calculating; she had her cap set for a wealthy husband, and she landed one -- to the dismay of his family.

When the police question her co-workers at the language college where Kirsten worked in administration, it becomes apparent to the reader that something strange is going on. The language college is a school for young Europeans to learn English. Many of the students are impressionable young women far from home for the first time. Did Kirsten learn of something illegal at the school and was that why she was killed? Why is her boss so secretive and the students wary?

As always in the author's novels, there is an old death (perhaps a crime) in addition to the new one. Wes' best friend Neil, with whom he had studied archaeology at university, is digging in the area. When a farmer digs up bones, both Wes and Neil go to the scene. When the bones are determined to be old, Neil takes over. Thus there is a parallel mystery from medieval days to solve along with the modern day crime.

Wes and his family reside in South Devon where his job takes him to the fictional towns the author has loosely based on the area. Wes and his family -- his wife Pam who is a teacher and their two small children -- live in a small town in the area. Wes works long hours and Pam sometimes resents all the time her husband spends away from his family. And she's not so sure that one of his female associates, Rachel, isn't interested in Wes romantically.

The author has written approximately ten books featuring Wes, his colleagues and his family. With her background and interest in medieval history and archaeology, she deftly blends the two into a modern police novel. The characters are well defined, and the reader will soon think of the DI and others as old friends.

Reviewed by Lorraine Gelly, April 2006

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