I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the books I read of this series – see my reviews of Old Bones, Shadow Play and Headlong – so when this one popped up, I had no hesitation in requesting it.
BLURB: Fitness trainer Erik Lingoss is found dead in his west London flat, his head smashed by one of his own dumbbells. His heartlessly-dumped girlfriend, blood on her clothes and hands, is the prime suspect. She had means, opportunity, and motive. But is the case as clear-cut as it seems? Handsome Erik Lingoss had clients in high places; and he seemed to engender powerful emotions. If it was a crime of passion, there was plenty of that to go round: love strong as death, jealousy cruel as the grave.
Who did he let in to his flat that evening? Where is his missing mobile phone? Why is seven hundred pounds in cash stuffed under his pillow? The deeper Slider and his team dig, the clearer it becomes there’s far more to this case than meets the eye.
REVIEW: Harrod-Eagles is no slouch when it comes to concocting a well-crafted, murder mystery – I always enjoy reading her books for that reason, alone. But this time around, I think she has outdone herself. The plotting in this entertaining police procedural whodunit is masterful. It doesn’t hurt that I now know and like DCI Bill Slider and members of his team. We have all read or watched the moody, workaholic policeman whose dedication to the job takes the place of his family. His team are wary around him, but nonetheless respect his remarkable ability to get the job done. Well, Bill Slider is nothing like that. He’s happily married to a professional musician, who is about to have their second child in this instalment. And his father and stepmother live close-by and provide support in the form of meals and occasional childcare when work commitments become too pressing. It was refreshing to see a career policeman with a happy home life.
While everyone treats the victim and witnesses with professional respect, there were times when I grinned at the humour between Slider and Atherton as they questioned suspects, combed through CCTV footage, and checked out alibis. Indeed, I was interested to see just how crucial that CCTV footage became to the solving of the case. The denouement worked really well, with a sense of sadness over the waste of a young man’s life – by the end of the investigation, I felt that I knew him quite well. Highly personable and incredibly good looking, Erik with a ‘k’ had a gift for making people fall in love with him – not just inexperienced, pretty young girls – but clever, successful people, too.
Along with the strong characterisation, clever plotting and effective scene setting, and a nicely apt title – the full quote is Jealousy is cruel as the grave – I found myself thinking about this story after I finished the book, which is always a bonus. Highly recommended for fans of British police procedural whodunits – and yes… I know it’s the 22nd book in a long-running series and no, I haven’t read all of them. But I still thoroughly enjoyed this one, anyway. While I obtained an arc of Cruel as the Grave from the publisher via Netgalley, the opinions I have expressed are unbiased and my own.
And here comes another title for the ever-growing list of intriguing thrillers for the times when I want to step out of the SFF realms… 😉
Thanks for sharing!
Thank you:) Yes – I’ve enjoyed these books. Harrod-Eagles manages to give a wonderful layering of this victim, so that I understood who he was, what ran and how he ended up falling at the hands of his murderer – and feeling a real sadness about it by the end. That doesn’t happen very often…
I read an earlier book in this series and really enjoyed it. She’s an author whose books I definitely want to explore more.
She’s a fine writer. Mum has her historical series and was heartbroken when it came to an end in the early 20th century… Reckons it’s one of the best things she’s ever read.
OH Excellent review! A new series for me to binge. Who knows when I can do it.
Thank you, Anne:)). They are great fun so I hope you get a chance to shoehorn them into your reading schedule!
Definitely a series to consider as you seem to be enjoying them so much.
They are a lovely change when I need a break from my usual SFF reads:)).
Glad your enjoying this series, SJ. It is always great to find a murder-mystery series to get your teeth into and with 22 books there are plenty to get stuck into here! 😃
Thank you, Jessica – the nice thing about murder-mystery stories that they are easier to crash midway without floundering too much:))