Thursday, April 20, 2017
Secrets Of Death by Stephen Booth
The Peak District in rural England is recognized as one of the most beautiful places on Earth to contemplate nature. That means that summer is tourist season there, with all the hassles that come with an enormous influx of people in a place that is fairly quiet the rest of the year. It's always a busy time for the Derbyshire Police Department and DI Ben Cooper and his team. But this year something is new and it isn't natural at all.
There has been been a significant uptick in suicides with the individuals going to tourist areas for their last moments. There doesn't seem to be anything connecting the individuals. They don't seem to have known each other. The methods used differ, an asphyxiation by gas, a jump, slit wrists, gunshot and an overdose but the proximity of their deaths means that they get noticed and considered as a group. Most are men with one woman so even gender is not a connecting factor. Yet Cooper and his team and more importantly, his superiors, feel that the deaths are connected somehow. There is major concern that the trend, if not stopped, will impact the region's tourist trade and thus its entire economic reality.
Meanwhile, in the nearest large city Nottingham, Cooper's former partner, Diane Fry, has issues of her own. She left Derbyshire, desperate to get to the city and more bustle and less personal contact. While Ben has made DI, Diane's abrasive personality and impulsive disregard for police protocols has kept her at the sergeant level. She is involved in a long-term investigation of a man suspected of a series of murders of young women. When he becomes one of the suicide cases Ben's team is investigating, the two investigations merge and the former partners are thrown back together. The tensions that drove them apart still exist, although each respects the instincts that make a good investigator.
This is the sixteenth novel in the Cooper and Fry series. The tension comes from the relationship between the two individuals and the difference in their investigating styles. There is much in their relationship and lives that is referenced in this novel, but it also reads well as a stand-alone for those who are new to the series. This book is recommended for mystery readers.