Tuesday, 14 March 2017

The Dead House by Harry Bingham

Harry Bingham’s detective series featuring DS Fiona Griffiths just keeps getting better. What is so striking about it is the author’s ability to come up with new and interesting crimes, without throwing at the reader yet another creepy serial killer.

Perhaps this is down to the nature of his sleuth. Fiona Griffiths has Cotard’s Syndrome, a mental illness that causes the patient to believe they are dead. Fiona has had a lot of therapy, so she can now function reasonably well on ‘planet normal’. She’s also highly trained in martial arts and is never happier than when taking risks.

When Fiona is called to investigate a body found in a remote Welsh village, she finds a young woman laid out in a churchyard outbuilding, surrounded by candles and dressed in a light summer frock unsuitable for the chilly October night. Fiona resists the urge to phone in the scene of crime experts, wanting to spend a little time with her discovery.

She soon spots that the girl has had plastic surgery and yet her legs are unshaven, her fingernails clipped, not filed. When a post-mortem indicates the body has died from natural causes, Fiona ignores her superiors and continues to investigate, and with local copper, DI Burnett, keen on the idea of promotion, uncovers a link with a secluded monastery.

The two make an interesting team and the case will throw them into some dangerous situations, as they close in on an organised crime ring. And surely there’s a connection to Bethan Williams, a teenager who disappeared only a few miles away.

There is certainly plenty here to keep the plot humming along, and narrated from inside Fiona’s head, you are right there with her weird and sudden decisions. The story uncovers one of the most unusual crimes I have ever come across – prepare to be surprised - and of course it is down to the wire whether Fiona will nail the baddies and live to tell the tale. Which is as it should be.

The Dead House
is another top read in what is turning out to be one of the more compelling crime series around. Don’t miss it.

Posted by JAM

Catalogue link: The Dead House

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