This is the third in the Mitford Murder mysteries and I’m probably enjoying each new release more than its predecessor/s. In my review of The Mitford Murders I mentioned that author, Jessica Fellowes wrote companion books for Downton Abbey so is obviously passionate about this era and knows her stuff. And in that book, as well as the second in the series, Bright Young Dead, the research she undertakes and the way she weaves facts and true events into fiction makes more interesting – and surprisingly educational – reading.
I try hard not to write reviews with spoilers. Or ones that give away too much of the plot. Of course it also means I sometimes re-read a review of a book before starting the next book of the series and – unless it’s ingrained into my mind for some reason – I rarely remember the detail.
So, given two years has passed since Val McDermid’s last Tony Hill / Carol Jordan novel Insidious Intent was published (and I can’t believe it’s that long!), I’d completely forgotten Tony had gone to jail. I can’t remember any of the specifics, but that’s kind-of a good thing as newcomers to the series won’t be lost, suddenly introduced to characters – many of whom have been around now for 11 novels (and 24 years).
Early in The Puppet Show, as we meet Washington Poe – our host for this
evening series – there’s reference to a backstory. He’s been suspended and he and his former DS, now his boss-to-be (as they switch jobs) DI Stephanie Flynn talk about the fallout from a previous case. I wondered if in fact there was something I was missing.
I’d checked the front of the book jacket – though I guess they’re more just covers now than jackets – for any previous books by MW Craven and saw none listed.
Thankfully a page or two explains the history to us, however… I discovered Craven has had a previous series published centred around a fictional detective and also set in Cumbria…. published as Mike Craven. Which probably explains some of the confidence with which he writes the first in this new series.
There are a stack of series I love: John Sandford’s Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers books; Martha Grimes’ Richard Jury/Melrose Plant series; Sue Grafton’s alphabet series’; Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum books; and Robert B Parker’s Spenser series. And so forth. And possibly at the top of that list is JD Robb’s In Death series, which I’ve already raved about ad nauseum.