A Restless Evil by Ann Granger
The officer on duty at Bamford police station is sceptical when he takes a call from Guy Morgan. Morgan claims to have stumbled upon human bones in Stovey Woods in the heart of the Cotswolds, but surely animal bones are more likely? Morgan, though, is a doctor as well as a hiker, and he knows exactly what he’s found.
It sends a shiver down Detective Alan Markby’s spine when he hears the news. Twenty-two years ago, as a fresh-faced young inspector, he had a rare failure: His hunt for a brutal serial rapist preying on local women in the Stovey woods came up empty. After the third rape, the attacker disappeared, never to be heard of again.
Now, with a new investigation prompted by Morgan’s grisly discovery, the trail could be warm once more.
This book is number twelve in a series which features Alan Markby and Meredith Mitchell. It is a straightforward ‘who dunit’ type of tale, but unfortunately there are very few male characters in the story who could fit the role of the perpetrator, so it is no real surprise when the truth comes out.
There is not much mystery and little tension, except when Meredith goes searching in the woods for Alan. The descriptions of the village of Lower Stovey and the nearby woods is well done and the connections to the crimes committed twenty two years ago are realistic. However if I had not known that this book had been published in 2002, I would have thought it was a whole lot older. The language is very old fashioned and some of the dialogue is so unrealistic it is quite funny, also to describe a family as dysfunctional, on very little evidence other than the family not having great communication skill is really heavy handed.
In chapter fifteen when the farm wife was trying to persuade Meredith not to go into the woods she says,
‘I still think you’d do best to wait for him here’ which would have been fairly adequate, but she goes on to say ‘If he is in the woods, then he’s still got to drive back past the turning to the farm. If you were to wait down there, etc. etc. for another two superfluous sentences, very overdone
In the conclusion all the ends are tied and neatly finished off in true detective fashion, but I truly think the series has run its course and Ann Granger could produce so much better work. There are a few annoying spelling mistakes and typos, e.g. you do not ‘bare’ a child you ‘bear’ it. All in all not a very comfortable read