Title: Whisper the Dead by Stella Cameron
Alex Duggins Mystery Series Book Five
Publisher: Severn House
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 256 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
With plot twists galore and an array of credible suspects, this traditional village mystery series will appeal to fans of M.C. Beaton and Midsomer Murders
When Alex Duggins comes across a terrifying scene at the site of a new housing development, once again she is drawn into a case of brutal murder.
A new year arrives and winter holds Britain’s Cotswold Hills in its icy grip once more. But it’s the construction of a new housing development that’s causing the residents of Folly-on-Weir most concern. As she passes the site late one afternoon, pub owner Alex Duggins is confronted by the terrifying scene of a construction trailer on fire and a man desperately trying to break the door down.
Her efforts to help – and the subsequent findings of the police forensic pathologist – draw Alex and her friend Tony Harrison into a major murder investigation whose tentacles will reach right to the heart of the tight-knit Folly community – and into Alex’s own past …
Will appeal to fans of M.C. Beaton and Midsomer Murders.
Whisper the Dead by Stella Cameron is an engaging mystery set in the cozy village of Folly-on-Weir. Although this latest release is the fifth installment in the Alex Duggins Mystery series, it can be read as a standalone.
Pub owner Alex Duggins is on her way home when she decides to stop and check out a new development. To her shock and dismay, she arrives in time to report a fire at the construction site. While the developer, Bob Hill, manages to stagger to safety, his friend, architect Lance Pullinger is not so lucky. Detective Chief Inspect Dan O’Reilly and Detective Sergeant Bill Lamb have a few questions for Alex once it is determined that Lance was murdered. The case takes an ominous turn when another murder victim is discovered and a much loved local woman is bludgeoned to death. Although her best friend and boyfriend Tony Harrison urges her to stay out of the investigation, Alex continues nosing around to see if she can uncover any new information especially since these strange occurrences coincide with her mom Lily’s reluctant confession about their past. Will DCI O’Reilly and DS Lamb unmask the killer before they strike again?
It is really difficult keeping things under wraps in the close-knit community but O’Reilly and Lamb manage to keep a lid on the recent deaths a little longer than usual. By all accounts, Lance was an easy-going man who does not seem to have put down roots and Bob is a little vague when it comes to divulging information about him. The investigation takes an interesting turn when the next victim is discovered since she appears to have some connection to Lance, but exactly what their relationship is remains a bit of a mystery. Lamb and O’Reilly are already stymied when another victim is found and they are unable to see exactly how her death fits in with the first two.
Alex, Tony and the rest of the crew at the Black Dog pub are rather mystified by Lily’s unaccustomed moodiness. Although she is not initially forthcoming about the cause of her unhappiness, she does finally divulge a few details about what is going on. Alex knows there is much more to the story, but Lily has always been reticent to discuss the past with her daughter. When someone for her past casts an ominous shadow on Lily’s life in the present, she reveals a bit more information that affects both her and Alex. However, when it becomes apparent that this person might be connected to the recent deaths, Alex takes her concerns to Dan and Bill. What no one can quite decipher is how these seemingly disparate bits fit into the recent murders.
With quite a few story arcs, Whisper the Dead is a very intriguing whodunit. The cast of characters are richly developed with interesting back stories that play a fairly large role in the unfolding events. The investigation into the murders sometimes takes a backseat to the personal dramas but all of the storylines eventually converge as Stella Cameron brings the novel to a fairly exciting and rather surprising conclusion. This latest addition to the Alex Duggins Mystery series is wonderful cozy mystery that fans of the genre will enjoy.