Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Death in the Village (DI Tremayne #6), by Phillip Strang

Phillip Strang, August 2018

DI Tremayne is edging ever closer to accepting the inevitability of retirement, as his body gets creakier, and technology plays an ever-greater role in policing. Tremayne is an old-fashioned police officer, wearing out shoe leather tracking down evidence. Looking for evidence electronically, and filing reports electronically, is alien to him. Yet he wants Detective Sergeant Clare Yarwood to succeed him in his job, so he needs to hold on a bit longer, so she can pass exams and qualify.

He also has no idea what he'll do when he retires, since crime solving is all he cares about.

In the meantime, he and Clare have another murder to solve, this time in the village of Compton. A malicious, self-righteous gossip has been found hanged in  her own barn, and pretty much everyone has some sort of a motive. Most of them--most of the inhabitants of the tiny village--aren't especially likable either.

And, it turns out, even as the bodies accumulate, nobody wants to talk to the police, who aren't part of their incestuous little village.

This is a very challenging case, and it's making Tremayne feel his age, even as Clare, who also loves her work, is feeling the desire for a partner and a child--in addition to, not instead of, her career, but a career as a homicide detective is an extra challenge for finding someone, as is her grief over the death of her previous lover.

This is, as with any ongoing series, as much about the continuing characters as the particular mystery. Tremayne continues to develop as a character, and his relationship with his ex-wife, Jean, is an important factor. His relationship with his chief, Moulton, also grow more complex, as they develop in mutual respect and even friendship, even as Moulton is determined to tempt Tremayne into retirement, as both his health and his familiarity with current policing methods decline.

The police and their circle of associates, family, and friends are all good and decent people, but this is less true of the villagers than in most of the previous Tremayne stories. It is, in any case, an engrossing story.

Recommended.

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