BLOOD ON THE TONGUE by Stephen Booth


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Winter in frosty Edendale, Derbyshire, is always bleak enough for law enforcement, but these days the local CID, budget-struck to the bone, is undermanned and overwhelmed by a dismaying diversity of murder most foul. There’s the Snowman, a well-dressed corpse devoid of ID brought to light by highway snowplows. There’s the pregnant young woman beaten and left to die on ice-capped Irontongue Hill. But most worrisome of all to Detective Constable Ben Cooper is a case almost nobody is willing to think of as murder. During WWII, a British bomber smacked into the side of Irontongue, killing its crew instantly, except for the pilot, Daniel McTeague, and the co-pilot, Zygmunt Lukasz, a Polish volunteer. Having survived the crash, Lukasz subsequently made his home in Edendale. When McTeague walked away from the downed plane, however, he vanished. How and why? Is it possible something was being covered up? Now McTeague’s granddaughter has come to Edendale, determined to find answers to the murky 57-year-old mystery. Ben becomes convinced the case is linked to everything else bedeviling the CID. His boss, Detective Sergeant Diane Fry, has ambivalent feelings about the direction of Ben’s sleuthing. Then again, she’s equally ambivalent about Ben, who’s begun to stir her in ways that, as the series continues, could grow unsettling for both of them.

Longer than it should be, but the best to date of this ambitious series (Dancing with the Virgins, 2001, etc.). The plotting is solid, the local color vivid, and the thorny romance fun to follow.

Pub Date: Oct. 22nd, 2002
ISBN: 0-7432-3618-1
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Scribner
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2002


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