Death Watch by Jim Kelly

Jim Kelly changes gear in this book from his earlier series about a newspaper reporter to a more traditional police procedural, but his setting remains the same.  The wilds of the northern Norfolk coastland and the mean streets of the city Kings Lynn are the backdrop for this gritty mystery.

When Inspector Peter Shaw is called to the hospital to investigate the death of a young man found in the incinerator in the hospital basement, he is very concerned.  The strange circumstances of his death, and the fact that it happened exactly 18 years to the day after his twin sister went missing, prompts Shaw to believe it was no accident. Shaw’s father was the investigating officer on the missing person’s case, which was unsuccessful and the girl was never found, alive or dead. The family has no trust in the police at all and refuses to cooperate in the new investigation.  Other mysterious happenings at the same hospital make Shaw wonder if the case is related to his sister’s disappearance, or whether something more sinister is at work.

Several threads are interwoven in this complex mystery.  The 18 year old case, thefts at the hospital, a suspicious fire on the street where the family lived, a mysterious man who kidnaps homeless people, and the case which ended Shaw’s father’s police career, are all being investigated at the same time. But are all of these things related? Or, are some related and some not?   Shaw and his partner, Sergeant George Valentine, are on a race against time to sort the mess out before more people get hurt. They also hope to clear Shaw’s father’s name in the process.

I haven’t read many books set in this part of England and I find it very interesting.  King’s Lynn in Norfolk is an important sea port and was once home to many industries, such as canning and brewing.  It has a fairly large immigrant population and quite a few low income areas.  This urban area, combined with a remote and dangerous coastline means the area is ripe for criminal activity.  Kelly has created a unique series and I look forward to many more Shaw mysteries. The first book in the series is Death Wore White.

Find and reserve this book in the catalog.


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