Years ago, while going through a period of tight finances (come to think of it, I still am), I took to borrowing light reading from the library, which is often a challenge when you’re as picky a reader as I am. I happened on a couple of English mysteries that pleased me very much, but neither the author nor the titles stuck in my memory. But recently, employing my hard-won new skills as an Information Professional, I did some hunting and found the books. Even better, some of them are available for Kindle. And so I offer, for your consideration, Deliver Us From Evil, by Peter Turnbull, one of the Hennessey and Yellich mysteries.
Hennessey and Yellich are police detectives in the ancient city of York, England, a place of great interest to Viking enthusiasts, though Vikings are rarely mentioned in my reading so far. Hennessey is an older cop, a widower who carries on a quiet affair with the female medical examiner. Yellich is younger and a family man, the father of a boy with Down’s Syndrome. There are also a couple more members on their team at this point in the series, each well drawn and having their own story.
The book begins with a beautifully written scene in which an early morning walker, on a frigid spring morning, discovers a woman sitting near the edge of a canal. Discovering that she is dead, he contacts the police. Forensic examination shows that she froze to death, but was probably strangled first. The strangling apparently failed, she revived, but then she succumbed to the cold.
Inquiry into her past reveals a dark story – this is a woman who has cheated and stolen all her life, and who may have done worse things. The question is not who had motive to kill her, but who among many she has hurt actually did it.
The story runs along logical, police procedural lines, and involves a trip to Canada by some of the team. There are no car chases, no gunfights, not even a fist fight. Just patient inquiry into human memories, deceptions, and motivations. I love this kind of book. I wish there were more of them.
A strange affectation of author Turnbull’s is that he opens each chapter with an old-fashioned synopsis:
Wednesday, March twenty-fifth, 15.43 hours – 22.30 hours in which more is learned of the deceased and Mr and Mrs Yellich are at home to the gracious reader.
A little precious, perhaps, but amusing as long as other writers don’t copy it.