Julia Armstrong comes home late from her first night out with ´the girls´ for ages, only to find her sixteen-year-old son Luke drowned in the bath tub. As he has been depressed lately, Julia thinks it is suicide, but the police have to tell her that her son has been killed.
Felicity Calvert is a housewife with husband and four children. Her main role in life is keeping her husband well fed and happy so he can concentrate on his important, academic career. Their young son James brings home a teacher trainee who wants to rent their cottage. A bit hesitant Felicity shows her around. The place is cleaner and tidier than she would have expected, and who put the fresh roses there? Soon the family find another body, however, and these insignificant details are forgotten.
This is just a case for Vera Stanhope, meddling with male academics who tend to underrate the abilities of the large, eccentric-looking investigator.
Just as I had expected, this novel was a delightful reading experience from beginning to end. It is difficult to say whether it is Ann Cleeves´ plots or her characters that are best.
And the language? I think my quotation from the other day says it all. If not, see what Martin Edwards wrote in a comment underneath it: “This particular scene is, I think, one of the very best pieces of writing by a fine author.”
A warm recommendation!