There is no lack of British police procedural mystery series out there, so I tried A Deadly Lesson, a Scottish mystery by Paul Gitsham, more or less on a whim. I liked it better than I should have, considering the nature of the product.
Jillian Gwinnett, an instructor and administrator at a Catholic school, is found strangled to death at her desk. The murder weapon appears to have been a length of hemp rope. Detective Chief Inspector Warren Jones is assigned to investigate. He and his assistant begin looking into her fellow workers and her job history, and find old conflicts involving educational philosophy and career rivalries. Through systematic investigation, they identify the culprit at last.
And that’s pretty much it. This was one of the most straightforward mysteries I’ve read in a long time. There were very few distractions in this book – either in terms of action scenes or interesting characters. Inspector Jones, as a person, was almost entirely a closed book. We learned he was married, and almost nothing more about him. It’s almost mandatory these days for British detectives to have a slew of eccentricities, but there’s none of that here. Just a plain mystery, plainly solved.
I didn’t find a lot to love here, but on the other hand, the mystery was interesting in itself, and it kept me reading. So, although I didn’t love A Deadly Lesson, I didn’t dislike it either. Recommended for readers who prefer puzzles to characters. I don’t recall any objectionable elements.