Tag Archives: The Missing Nurse

‘The Missing Nurse,’ by Roger Silverwood

The Inspector Morse template seems to be a big success in the world of publishing. You have your older Inspector, supervising one or more younger subordinates. He is grumpy and occasionally insulting, but his heart is of gold, and once his co-workers get used to him, they learn to appreciate that he’s partly joking, partly pushing them to improved effectiveness.

Roger Silverwood’s Yorkshire Mystery Series appears to be constructed on that template, judging by the first book in the series, The Missing Nurse.

The setting is the town of Bromersley. Inspector Michael Angel of the Bromersley police is tall and fat and irascible. He is married without children, and fond of cats. He hates hot weather. Which is unfortunate, because it’s August in the hottest year on record, and on top of that his wife has gone away to visit her sick mother. This leaves him to run the house alone, a challenge that seems beyond him (he delegates much of the work to a rookie subordinate). Also, his favorite sergeant is out of town taking a course.

When Miriam Thomas, a middle-aged nurse from Wales, comes to his office to report her sister missing, Angel is not greatly concerned. The woman had been visiting in town, and such disappearances usually turn out to be simple failures of communication. He tells Miriam not to worry.

But he realizes there’s reason to worry, when a body shows up in a park and matches the sister’s description. Even more sinister, Miriam herself has now disappeared. Angel puts his team on the hunt for her, for her own protection and to try to find an explanation for the murder. The explanation, as it turns out, will take them to an old unsolved case.

Meanwhile a couple thugs hold up a service station and pistol whip the young girl who was working there. Such behavior offends Angel deeply, and he puts his team on the hunt for them too.

I think we’re intended to find Inspector Michael Angel amusing, in the Morse manner. It didn’t really work that way for me. Being intentionally unpleasant to people under your authority is a game to be played with a light hand, in my opinion. Angel lays it on thick. He has his virtues – he cares deeply about crime victims – but he annoyed me.

Such things are subjective. The book might work better for you. The usual cautions apply.