Saturday, October 19, 2013

Black Dog by Stephen Booth

The Peak District in England's Derbyshire usually faces only minor crime, such as stealing from tourist cars.  But that all changes when fifteen year old Laura Vernon, daughter of the area's wealthiest family, goes missing.  The police gear up for a major search, but the search turns into a murder investigation when her body is discovered.

Ben Cooper is the force's up and coming detective; a home town man familiar with the area and the people who live there.  His almost assured promotion to Sargent is put in danger by the arrival of Diane Fry, a driven detective who comes to area determined to make her way up the police ranks as quickly as possible.  The two detectives are teamed together but do not care for each other at all. 

As the investigation progresses, a multitude of suspects emerge.  There is the Vernon's gardener, a young man recently fired by Vernon and seen talking with Laura shortly before her disappearance.  The elderly man who found the shoe that led to the body's discovery, Harry Dickinson, is one of a trio of men who have no love for the Vernons and harbor a grudge against the family.  Graham Vernon has business associates who share secrets with him that they might kill to protect.  There is a local boyfriend who the family wouldn't have approved of, had they known about him.  All these suspects have Cooper and Fry spinning as they attempt to determine who killed Laura Vernon.

This is the first of the Cooper and Fry series, which currently numbers thirteen novels.  It won the Barry Award for Best British Crime Novel and was a finalist for the Anthony Award for Best First Mystery.  The interplay between Cooper and Fry and the British setting are interesting, and the crime story is revealed at a pace that keeps the reader turning the pages.  This book is recommended for mystery readers.

3 comments:

Lance Wright said...

Thanks so much for introducing, and reviewing, this first-in-series crime novel for us.

Sandie said...

Thanks, Lance. I'll definitely be reading more Booth; in fact I've already gotten two more in this series.

Stephen Booth said...

Hi, Sandie. Many thanks for your review, and for giving BLACK DOG the space on your blog. It's much appreciated. I hope you enjoy the other books too. :)