The book is the author´s debut and the first in the Wesley Peterson series.
The story begins with any mother´s nightmare: a little boy disappears from the front garden. Next the skeletons of a woman and a baby are found among the remnants of The Merchant´s House, a sixteenth century building, by some archaeologists. Third, a woman walking her dog comes across the body of a young woman. And voila, the scene is set for a great crime story.
The story takes place in quiet ´Tradmouth´, Devon. The protagonist is DS Wesley Peterson, “smart, tall, dark brown face, pleasant and intelligent”, who studied archaeology before joining the police force so he prefers his bones dry. He has just moved to Tradmouth, and enjoys the change from London, but is forced to realize that he has brought his marital problems with him.
Wesley is even fully equipped with his own Dr Watson in the shape of Neil Watson, archaeologist and fellow student of Wesley. Neil is very engaged in solving the story of the old skeletons, and obviously enjoys working together with his old friend.
Apart from the modern crime story we get some journal entries, written by John Banized, the merchant of the story, in 1623. A good way of giving the reader some background knowledge for the old case, but the only minus in this really fine debut is that nothing much happens in the first many journal entries.
A recurring theme is parents and children (wanting them, having them or losing them), and the crime case is well planned and carried out all the way through, with nice little tidbits scattered over the pages, together with the very convincing descriptions of the characters.
NB: if you should be looking for Tradmouth, you´d better try this blogpost instead of consulting your maps.