Monday, May 17, 2021

A Knot of Sparrows, by Cheryl Rees-Price

The Book Folks, March 2021

Winter Meadows was raised on a commune, until events not fully discussed in this book led to him living in town and discovering the benefits of central heating and other comforts. The change didn't lead to him abandoning the beliefs he was raised with. Those beliefs didn't prevent him from becoming a police officer, and eventually a Detective Inspector, investigating a murder in a small Welsh town.

Seventeen-year-old Stacey Evans is found murdered, and a surprising number of people have potential motives for murder. She had recently dumped the teenage boyfriend her parents believe she didn't have. She had been involved with several married men in the village. She had mercilessly bullied and harassed another teenage girl, Erin Kelly, who committed suicide as a result. In Erin's case, it's not just her mother and father who might have wanted Stacey to pay for what she did. There's also Donald Hobson, another teenager, Erin's best friend, who has made no secret of blaming Stacey for her death.

The killer did leave a calling card, though. Written in marker on Stacey's body is REV17--Book of Revelation, Chapter 17. The Whore of Babylon. Surely this is a useful clue?

Unfortunately, as the investigation continues, instead of leading quickly to the killer, it connects Stacey's death to other deaths. A  missing doctor is found dead, with another Biblical verse written on his body. An unsolved arson case with two deaths turns out to have a brick that was thrown through a window with a Bible verse written on it--and the two people killed are widely believed, despite lack of direct evidence, to be involved in the death of another young girl.

Yet in every case, as Meadows and his team identify the most likely suspects, each proves to have a seemingly ironclad alibi. They couldn't have committed the murders they're accused of--seemingly.

It's a nice, twisty plot, and the character development is excellent. Meadows himself is a likeable, interesting character, and I'm likely to be reading more books in this series.

The only real flaw I see here is the sloppy copyediting. That may have gotten corrected between the ARC and the published book. I hope so! 


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

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