Wednesday, 7 November 2018

The Mystery Genre - English Cops Part 5

In my last entry for this subject, I highlighted mystery writers Martha Grimes (the Inspector Jury series), Caroline Graham (Inspector Barnaby / Midsomer Murders) and Michael Gilbert (Inspectors Hazelrigg and Petrella). In the fifth part of the English cops, I'll be moving into the "H"'s

John Harvey
1. John Harvey (Detective Inspector Charles Resnick). English mystery writer, John Harvey, was born in London in 1938 and is a prolific writer, his books include two mystery series; that of DI Charles Resnick and the other featuring retired police officer, Frank Elder. I've read the first book in each. This entry features DI Resnick as he is the only active police officer of Harvey's two series.

a. Lonely Hearts (#1 / 1989).

"This is the first Charlie Resnick mystery. Resnick is a Detective Inspector working out of CID in Nottingham, England. He and his team are tasked to solve the murders of two women. The link is that both of them subscribed to a Lonely Hearts page in the local paper and may have been killed by the same person. The investigation is a bit of a jumble, but I liked the pace, the reality of the investigation and especially some of the team; especially Kellogg and Patel.

The investigation is always ongoing and interesting but as well, we get to meet and know the characters better and I liked that aspect of the story. No great revelations, just an interesting case and story. I will read more of this series now that I've tried it. (3 stars)"

b. Rough Treatment (#2 / 1990).

"Two small-time crooks break into TV director Harold Roy’s shabby mansion and stumble across a kilo of cocaine and Harold’s wife, who proceeds to fall in love with one of the crooks. Now she is going to make a deal to save both her husband and the drugs, but the precious powder belongs to someone else and he wants it back. Inspector Resnick has a hunch that there’s more to this story than meets the eye and his investigations lead him down the mean streets of the TV industry and an inner city drugs ring."

The remaining books in this series are -
- Cutting Edge (1991)
- Off Minor (1991)
- Wasted Years (1993)
- Cold Light (1994)
- Living Proof (1995)
- Easy Meat (1996)
- Still Water (1997)
- Last Rites (1998)
- Now's the Time: the Complete Resnick Short Stories (2006)
- Trouble in Mind (Novella / 2007)
- Cold in Hand (2008)
- Darkness, Darkness (Resnick's last case / 2013)

Mo Hayder
2. Mo Hayder (Detective Inspector Jack Caffery). British crime writer Mo Hayder was born in 1962 an is currently the author of ten novels, three standalones and 7 featuring DI Jack Caffery. I've enjoyed the first two books so far and have the next two plus one of the standalones awaiting my attention.

a. Birdman (#1 / 2000).

"Greenwich, south-east London. The Met's crack murder squad, AMIP, is called out by nervous CID detectives to a grim discovery. Five bodies, all young women, all ritualistically murdered and dumped on wasteland near the Dome. As each post-mortem reveals a singular, horrific signature linking the victims, officers realize that they are on the trail of that most dangerous offender: a sexual serial killer.

Detective Inspector Jack Caffery - young, driven, unshockable - finds himself facing both hostility within the force and echoes of his past in this, his first case with AMIP. Haunted by the memory of a death long ago, he employs every weapon forensic science can offer for he knows it is only a matter of time before this chaotic, sadistic killer strikes again. (3 stars)"

b. The Treatment (#2 / 2001).

"This is the 2nd book in the Jack Caffery mystery/ thriller series. I felt many of the same frustrations with this book that I felt with the first book, Birdman. Caffery is a cop with many issues, most trailing back to the disappearance and possible murder of his brother, Ewan, back when they were both children. He became a cop partly because he wanted to stop other people from murdering, committing crimes. He still lives in his family house and is haunted by his brother's presence and by his neighbour, the man who he thinks abducted and maybe abused and murdered his brother.

Compound that with the troubles he's dealing with from his girlfriend, Rebecca, who he met through a previous case and who is dealing with her own demons and you've kind of got a Rebus on steroids. The case is very interesting, the murder and abuse of a young boy (flashbacks to his brother's case??) while his parents were held prisoner in the same house. Caffery works on this case but at the same time, his past and his dealings with Rebecca are a constant distraction. Another family is currently being held prisoner and the clock is ticking. 

It's a very suspenseful story even with the frustrations. I do really like his boss, DI Souness; she's a breath of fresh air when you need it. For all the frustrations, it's at times spellbinding. There are a few other books in the series, so I'll be looking for them. (4 stars)"

c. Ritual (2008).

"Just after lunch on a Tuesday in April, nine feet under water, police diver Flea Marley closes her gloved fingers around a human hand. The fact that there's no body attached is disturbing enough. Yet more disturbing is the discovery, a day later, of the matching hand. Both have been recently amputated, and the indications are that the victim was still alive when they were removed.

DI Jack Caffery has been newly seconded to the Major Crime Investigation Unit in Bristol. He and Flea soon establish that the hands belong to a boy who has recently disappeared.

Their search for him - and for his abductor - lead them into the darkest recesses of Bristol's underworld, where drug addiction is rife, where street-kids sell themselves for a hit, and where an ancient evil lurks; an evil that feeds off the blood - and flesh - of others .."

d. Skin (2009).

"When the decomposed body of a young woman is found, it appears that she’s committed suicide -- and that’s how the police want to leave it. But DI Jack Caffery isn’t sure: he’s on the trail of a predator, and for the first time in a long time he feels scared. Police diver Flea Marley is beginning to wonder whether her relationship with Caffery could go beyond the professional -- until a discovery that changes everything. This time not even Caffery can help her."

The remaining books in this series are -
- Gone (2010)
- Poppet (2013)
- Wolf (2014)

Georgette Heyer
3. Georgette Heyer. English writer Heyer lived from 1902 - 1971. She wrote both historical romances and mysteries. I've enjoyed two of her mysteries so far, one of them a 4 - star read and the other 5 stars. These were both standalones. In her mystery series, she features to Inspectors; Hannasyde and Hemingway. Both have 4 books in the series.

a. Inspector Hannasyde. There are 4 books in the series, published from 1935 - 1938.

i. Behold, Here's Poison (#2 / 1936).

"When Gregory Matthews, patriarch of the Poplars is found dead one morning, imperious Aunt Harriet blames it on the roast duck he ate for supper. After all, she had warned him about his blood pressure. But a post-mortem determines the cause of death as murder by poison. Suspicion falls immediately amongst his bitter, quarrelsome family. Each has a motive; each, opportunity.

It falls to the quietly resourceful Inspector Hannasyde to sift through all the secrets and lies and discover just who killed Gregory Matthews. He faces the deadliest test of his career when members of the wealthy Matthews clan begin to die, one by one. With motives everywhere, it is no easy case for the inspector to solve in time to spare the next victim. Meet the Matthews -- while they last... Gregory, Harriet, Gertrude, Zoe, Guy, Stella and Randall."

ii. They Found Him Dead (#3 / 1937).

"It is the morning after wealthy Silas Kane's sixtieth birthday party - a celebration that brings to light a number of familial controversies. When Kane is found dead at the foot of a cliff, the assumption is that he simply lost his way in the fog and fell by accident. But the subsequent death of his nephew and heir and threats on the life of the third Kane, the newest heir, raises obvious suspicion, and the redoubtable investigative skills of Superintendent Hannasyde prove critical once again."

iii. A Blunt Instrument (#4 / 1938).

"When Ernest Fletcher is found bludgeoned to death in his study, everyone is shocked and mystified: Ernest was well liked and respected, so who would have a motive for killing him? Inspectors of Scotland Yard felt it was an unlikely crime for the London suburbs: a perfectly respectable chap at home with his head bashed in. It seems the real Fletcher was far from the gentleman he pretended to be. There is, in fact, no shortage of people who wanted him dead.

Superintendent Hannasyde and Sergeant Hemingway, with consummate skill, uncover one dirty little secret after another, and with them, a host of people who all have reasons for wanting Fletcher dead. Who tiptoed into the study to do the deed? The rather nefarious nephew Neville? A neighbor's wandering wife? A fat man in a bowler hat?

The mystery's key was a blunt instrument--a weapon that the police could not find... and that the murderer can to use once more. Then, a second murder is committed, with striking similarities to the first, giving a grotesque twist to a very unusual case, and the inspectors realize they are up against a killer on a mission...."

The remaining book in this series, which I have not yet found, is the first book
- Death in the Stocks (#1 / 1935)

b. Inspector Hemingway. This series, of 4 books, ran from 1939 - 1953.

i. Duplicate Death (#3 / 1951). 

"Inspector Hemingway has his work cut out for him when a seemingly civilized game of Duplicate Bridge leads to a double murder. The crimes seem identical, but were they carried out by the same hand? Things become even more complicated when the fiancée of the inspector's young friend Timothy Kane becomes Hemingway's prime suspect. Kane is determined to prove the lady's innocence-but when he begins digging into her past, he finds it's more than a little bit shady..."

ii. Detection, Unlimited (#4 / 1953).

"Slumped on a seat under an oak tree is old Sampson Warrenby, with a bullet through his brain. He is discovered by his anxious niece, Mavis, who is one of the ten people in the village is the running for chief suspect, having just cause to dislike Warrenby intensely.

Only Chief Inspector Hemingway can uncover which of the ten has turned hatred into murder."

The other two books in this series are -
- No Wind of Blame (1939)
- Envious Casca (1941)

I'll continue this thread in a future post. At the moment my puppies want to go for their early afternoon walk.. See you soon. Have a great week!!! 

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