As I’ve been working my way through Paul Gitsham’s DCI Warren Jones series, I’ve commented that Inspector Jones distinguishes himself from other series detectives in (seemingly) having no particular skeletons in his closet. No old traumas, or addictions, or PTSD, which seem to be obligatory for the genre.
How wrong I was. Plenty of skeletons are revealed in Silent As the Grave, in which all Jones’ chickens seem to come home to roost at once.
An elderly man is found stabbed to death in a park. The crime seems unremarkable, except for the unusual dearth of clues, or a possible motive. The man had been a simple gardener, without known enemies.
Then Jones is approached by a man he does not know, but knows about. The man was his own predecessor in his present job – a cop gone bad, disgraced and facing trial. He says the gardener was murdered at the orders of a crime lord recently released from prison, now out for revenge. There will be more murders, he says. He’ll help Jones solve the case, in return for help in clearing himself.
Jones scoffs. The man is obviously trying to manipulate him, for his own benefit. Then the man plays his trump card – Jones’s father was innocent, he says, and he can help him prove it.
This is world-shattering. Jones’s father, we learn, was a policeman who committed suicide – Jones himself, a teenager at the time, found the body. His father was discovered to have been corrupt, and apparently killed himself out of shame.
Could that have been a mistake? Jones has spent most of his life hating his own father. Has he been doing him an injustice? Or is his informant just playing him cynically, for his own advantage?
Finding the answer will bring Jones himself, as well has his family, into mortal danger before a complex mystery is finally unraveled. The climax of the story is unexpected and shocking.
This one was somewhat more intense than I expected. The story still moves a little slowly, as with all the books in the series, but all in all it was pretty satisfying. Minimal cautions for language and mature subject matter.