Sunday, December 31, 2017

Death and the Lucky Man (DI Tremayne #3), by Phillip Strang

P. Strang, December 2017

Detective Inspector Keith Tremayne, along with his sergeant, Clare Yarwood, is investigating the murder of a man whose family he knows. The Winters family were always a bit sketchy, brothers Fred and Stan now in prison, sister Margie a drug-addicted prostitute, brothers Cyril, Gerry, and Alan working enough to keep themselves in food, housing, and drink. Alan married Mavis, a woman Tremayne was very briefly involved with years before, and they have two children. Rachel is a nurse; Bertie is a ne'er-do-well, drinking and doing drugs. There's one more brother, Dean, who got an education, got a job in the business owned by the father of Barbara Garrett, the woman he married, and moved to Southampton. He doesn't associate much with his low-life family.

Not even after Alan buys a lottery ticket and wins  £68 million.

Now Alan is dead, stabbed to death on the altar stone at Stonehenge.

Money is the obvious motive, indeed the only apparent reason why anyone would want to kill Alan. Yet Mavis is the only one who would immediately and directly benefit, and she's too smart and sensible not to realize she'd be the first and most obvious suspect. The only siblings that have shown the capacity for serious violence are Stan and Fred, and they're in prison. Each of the others seems unlikely for a variety of reasons, yet Alan is dead, and someone killed him.

This is a character-based look at a community small enough that there are a lot of connections, yet large enough that not everyone knows everyone. Everyone that has any significant role is shown to be layered and complex, a realistic mix of good and bad, and I found myself liking characters I certainly didn't expect to when they first appeared. I really got drawn in to this story.

Recommended.

I received a free electronic galley of this book from the author, and am reviewing it voluntarily.