Author – William Shaw
Published – 2 May 2019
Genre – Crime fiction
The opening line is a real attention grabber, something Dick Francis would have been proud of! Two teenage boys who are fairly inept thieves manage to steal a bag from the wrong man. They’re forced to go on the run when they realise how seriously the victim has taken the loss and what he’s prepared to do to get his belongings back.
At the same time Cupidi involves herself in a strange mystery after a severed arm is discovered in a work of art. Whose arm is it? Is there someone, somewhere who is injured and needs help or might this be a murder? Or is there even a crime to investigate?
This is a much simpler book than its predecessors, with two main investigations and two main points of view (Cupidi and the two boys on the run). As the stories unfold the huge contrasts in the social divide between the young petty thieves who have to hide out on the marshes and the characters they come into contact with, versus the incredibly wealthy celebrity owners of the artwork add an extra dimension to the story. There is also a lesson to be learned about being taken in by the perception of ‘celebrity’.
During the course of the book we learn more about Detective Constable Jill Ferriter, who is now becoming one of the mainstays of the series. Cupidi’s home life is still an important part of the book and we learn more about the circumstances that led to her moving out to the Kent coast and Zoë, her daughter, continues to worry her.
As in the earlier books in this series and in Shaw’s Breen and Tozer series, the excellent characterisation brings the diverse cast to life. They are truly believable and that really draws you into the story. The sense of place is important, as has been the case with the preceding books, and the experience of these characters provides a different point of view of the desolate coastline and the more urban areas.
A really enjoyable read.