Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Case of the Broken Doll (Inspector David Graham #4), by Alison Golden, Grace Dagnall

Kindle, December 2016

Okay, I have to admit it upfront. I just loved this book. Decent, interesting, quirky people, solving a mystery using their brains. No dogs or cats, which is Just Wrong, but, hey, maybe that will come in later entries?

Detective Inspector David Graham is settling in after a few months has head of the Gorey police force on Jersey. He's still living in the White House Inn because it's so very comfortable and they make his tea just so, but he's in town to stay.

And one lazy Sunday, doing his obligatory Christmas shopping, he notices that all the local shops have a particular type of doll in the window--the American Girl dolls, wildly popular about a decade ago. He asks, and learns the sad story of the disappearance of a local girl, Beth Ridley, ten years ago,when she was just fifteen. The entire community turned out to look for her, She was never found, the only thing found was the leg of one of her dolls. She collected the American Girls dolls.

And one of his two constables, Jim Roach, was a classmate of Beth's. It doesn't take him long to realize that, rather than feeling it was a slight on the previous investigation, most of the community he serves would be very pleased to see him reopen this very cold case. He's soon re-interviewing everyone connected to the case, including an ex-science teacher with creepy internet habits, a retired couple who just happened to be passing and saw Beth just moments before her disappearance, Beth's mother, her best friend, and the current headmaster of her school, who was a first-year teacher at the time.

Graham uses his well-honed, traditional police skills, while his sargent , Janice Harding, applies newly acquired computer search skills (and the help of the computer expert assigned to assist the Gorey police in integrating these new tools) to tracking down information on the creepy ex-teacher. Roach reads Beth's previously-ignored journal, which appears to be fiction about talking animals--except Roach can identify several of the characters. He's sure there's important information here, if he can just decode it.

Meanwhile, the other constable, Barnwell, is investigating a persistent series of thefts and shoplifting incidents down at the marina.

It's an interesting, likable group, clearly growing more and more into a real team as they continue to work together.This book unexpectedly hit the spot perfectly, in my need for an engaging, comfortable "cozy" mytery.

I received a free advance copy of this book from the author and reviewed it entirely by my choice.