The newest novel in the Ben Cooper and Diane Fry series opens on Halloween in Edendale, in the Peak District of England. DS Ben Cooper, of the Derbyshire E Division CID, in his 30’s, is going through a particularly bad time in his life, after hisThe newest novel in the Ben Cooper and Diane Fry series opens on Halloween in Edendale, in the Peak District of England. DS Ben Cooper, of the Derbyshire E Division CID, in his 30’s, is going through a particularly bad time in his life, after his fiancée, Li z Petty, a civilian Scenes of Crime officer, had been killed when the premises they were investigating burned to the ground, costing Liz her life, and “snatched [Ben’s] entire future away.” On this night, he is called to the scene where a woman’s corpse has been found, ironically at a site colloquially known as The Corpse Bridge, crossing over the River Dove. Over many generations several “coffin roads” converged at that bridge before ending at their graveyards. Making the case more complex is the presence at the scene of an effigy, a noose, and a witch ball filled with curses.
The usual group of cops readers have grown to know and love are present: DCs Luke Irvine, Becky Hurst, Carol Villiers and Gavin Murfin (after 30 years now nearing the end of his time before retirement). Ben finds himself reunited with DS Diane Fry, who had transferred to the Major Crime Unit of the East Midlands Special Operations Unit, and is about to move into an apartment on the outskirts of Nottingham. She had been back at Derbyshire’s E Division to cover for Ben when he was out on sick leave after Liz’ death, and is now called back there again to work the present case with Divisional CID. Her relationship with Ben reverts to its normal enmity-filled competitiveness, especially at a time when Ben is considering applying for a coming vacancy at inspector level or, in the alternative, getting out completely.
The writing is less action-filled than it is wonderfully descriptive, both of local atmosphere and geography, and including as it does a lot of fascinating historical lore. The author conjures up all the details of the countryside and its geography so that even one from “across the pond” can clearly picture them. He describes the hill country as “prehistoric anomalies . . . [which] belonged to a distant past. They shouldn’t exist here, in the twenty-first century. These strange hills were a fragment of some parallel universe, dropped into Derbyshire by a momentary connection between their two worlds. He was standing in reality, but looking at legend . . . one of those odd places the Peak District was full of . . . In this area you never knew what sort of place you were arriving in or what might lie behind its façade.” As you can see, the writing is beautiful, and the novel is recommended. ...Continua Nascondi