A High Mortality of Doves, by Kate Ellis

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With its Derbyshire setting, within a period immediately after the First World War, this book fulfils both the geographical and historical criteria that attracted me to a particular type of crime fiction.

In Wenfield, Derbyshire, the villagers are well aware of the cost of the recent war. Many of its men didn’t return, others returned home damaged in body or mind.

No less damaged are those who were left behind. Family members who turn to mediums for comfort. And family members who, by clinging to vain hope, make themselves vulnerable to a more deadly threat.

A letter draws Myrtle Bligh to an isolated place to meet Stanley, the man she’d loved prior to reports of his death in battle. In the hope that he’d survived, she follows the letter’s instructions, but it isn’t Stanley who meets her.

She becomes the first victim of a killer preying on Wenfield’s women.

The story alternates between the viewpoints of Flora Winsmore, the local doctor’s daughter and Albert Lincoln, a Scotland Yard detective brought in from London when local police recognise they are out of their depth.

Flora’s local knowledge is valuable to Albert the outsider and they develop an increasingly close relationship as they try to find the perpetrator before anyone else is murdered.

The lingering effects of war upon a community, are at the heart of the crimes within this story, where casualties of war are not always victims of the battlefield and those responsible for the damage may not be considered as enemy combatants.

Thanks to Sarah Ward for making me aware of this book through her blog entry here: https://crimepieces.com/2018/05/31/reading-round-up-2/

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