Sunday, January 17, 2021

The Beatrice Stubbs Series: Box Set One (DI Beatrice Stubbs #1-3), by J.J. Marsh (author), Jill Prewett (narrator)

Prewett Bielman Ltd., March 2020 (original publication November 2013)

Beatrice Stubbs  is a detective inspector with the Metropolitan Police, middle aged, graying, suffering from bipolar disorder--and her career somewhat stalled since a suicide attempt a year or so ago. In the first of these first three books of the series, her superior officer, Hamilton, has arranged for her to lead an international team in Zurich. The team will be investigating what look superficially like a series of unconnected suicides by prominent businessmen with shady reputations. Yet there seems to be a theme; the men have all died in ways that look like poetic justice for their particular vile actions. And when the team looks at the DNA evidence from each of these deaths, happening on average a year apart over nearly a decade, the only DNA not belonging to the dead men is the same at each scene--an unknown man who is otherwise not in evidence at all.

After the end of that assignment, she's back in the UK, on holiday with her longtime partner, Prof. Matthew Bailey, when they take some pictures on a beach in Wales. When Beatrice's bag, Matthew's camera, and subsequently Beatrice's work laptop are stolen, neither the Welsh nor the Met police believe this is anything other than coincidental, opportunistic theft, and would Beatrice please just concentrate on the case she's been assigned to with the London Transport Police, finding the Finsbury Park Flasher? The Flasher seems to be building toward more and more serious offenses, and he needs to be caught before someone is seriously hurt or potentially killed.

When that case comes to a successful but traumatic end, Beatrice takes a sabbatical to consider whether she's still cut out for being a police detective, and takes a nice, relaxing vacation in Spain, where a friend of a friend, now an investigative journalist, lures her into a case involving fraudulent wine sales, and two dead bodies so far. I think the term "busman's holiday" has fallen out of use, but if it hadn't, it would certainly apply in this case.

Very little fiction that isn't specifically about mental illness deals with it at all seriously. These books do. The characters are also interesting, diverse, and fascinating to get to know. Hamilton is cranky, demanding, unreasonable, and has no idea how to respond to Beatrice's bipolar disorder, yet does show continuing if not always transparently obvious confidence in her value and abilities as a senior detective. Matthew and Beatrice have a relationship that is solid, satisfying, and durable, without marriage or even living under the same roof--an arrangement that suits them both. Beatrice's other colleagues and friends are interesting mix, and she learns from all of them as they learn from her.

It's a very engrossing, satisfying mystery series. Recommended.

I bought this audiobook.

No comments:

Post a Comment