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Blind to the Bones Hardcover – 7 Apr 2003

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; First Edition edition (7 April 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007130651
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007130658
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.4 x 4.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,110,256 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Stephen Booth is an award winning UK crime writer, the creator of two young Derbyshire police detectives, DS Ben Cooper and DS Diane Fry, who have appeared in fourteen novels set in England's beautiful and atmospheric Peak District.

Stephen has been a Gold Dagger finalist, an Anthony Award nominee, twice winner of a Barry Award for Best British Crime Novel, and twice shortlisted for the Theakston's Crime Novel of the Year. DC Cooper was a finalist for the Sherlock Award for the best detective created by a British author, and in 2003 the Crime Writers' Association presented Stephen with the Dagger in the Library Award for "the author whose books have given readers the most pleasure". The Cooper & Fry series is published all around the world, and has been translated into 15 languages. The latest title is THE CORPSE BRIDGE.

A former newspaper journalist, Stephen was born in the Lancashire mill town of Burnley and brought up by the sea in Blackpool. He attended Birmingham City University and worked on local newspapers in in the North and Midlands before his first novel BLACK DOG was published in 2000. He lives in Nottinghamshire.

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Product Description


Praise for Stephen Booth:
‘Stephen Booth creates a fine sense of place and atmosphere … the unguessable solution to the crime comes as a real surprise’ Susanna Yager, Sunday Telegraph

‘The complex relationship between [Cooper and Fry] is excellently drawn, and is combined with an intriguing plot and a real sense of place: Stephen Booth is an author to keep an eye on’ T J Binyon, Evening Standard

‘In this atmospheric debut, Stephen Booth makes high summer in Derbyshire as dark and terrifying as midwinter’ Val McDermid

‘Black Dog sinks its teeth into you and doesn’t let go … A dark star may be born!’ Reginald Hill

From the Publisher

Withens is a small village in the Peak District, but it’s no idyll. Dark and dour, it’s troubled by theft and vandalism, mostly generated by local family-from-hell, the Oxleys. Now it is the focus of a murder investigation – a young man’s body has been found on the desolate moors nearby, and the man is an Oxley.

DC Ben Cooper is trying to crack the case and to do that he must crack this clannish family. On top of that, his difficult boss, Detective Diane Fry, is also in Withens on business – one Emma Renshaw, a student who vanished two years ago. Some ominous new evidence relating to Emma has turned up, but her parents are convinced she is still alive and act accordingly – and very strangely. So, with one murder and one as yet unsolved disappearance, Withens’ reputation for grimness is growing. And it looks like things are only going to get darker… --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By M. V. Clarke VINE VOICE on 11 April 2003
Format: Hardcover
This, Stephen Booth's fourth novel featuring DC Cooper and DS Fry, is an excellent continuation to the series, and arguably his best novel yet. Set as always in the Peak District, this novel has all the classic elements - dead bodies, a struggling police force and unhelpful witnesses. However, Blind to the Bones is much more than a typical murder mystery. Once again, the antagonism between Cooper and Fry, mixed up with a grudging mutual respect, boils away just below the surface. As with Booth's earlier novels, the reader feels close to these characters, due to the excellent descriptions of their emotions and thought processes. This time, it is DS Fry's personal life that we become more involved in, unlike Blood on the Tongue, where Cooper's was at the forefront. In developing the plot, Booth lifts this novel onto a higher level, providing a fascinating insight into the life of a close-knit family, and an isolated and deprived community. Booth's research is exemplary, and the significance of a particular local custom to the plot is a masterful touch. The landscape of the Peak District and the location of this novel are especially important, as in all of Booth's novels, and the added historical element to the story adds to the unusual community at the centre of the plot.

Several seemingly disparate elements are woven together and ingeniously combined, producing a most satisfying conclusion to the book, following a series of unexpected twists.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Untouchable on 20 Nov 2003
Format: Hardcover
Murder once again visits the Peak District of Derbyshire near Edendale in the 4th book of this terrific series. The members of the Derbyshire Constabulary, E Division are called on to work the case, although Ben Cooper has been loaned out to the Rural Crimes Team and Diane Fry is investigating a 2-year-old missing persons case, separating the duelling coppers.
The story centres around the tiny hamlet of Withens leading both Cooper and Fry there on their separate investigations. The murder victim is a young local man named Neil Granger. Granger is part of a large family that makes up the majority of the residents of Withens. It’s Ben’s job to interview the residents but like so many isolated close-knit communities they are particularly suspicious of outsiders, and this lot are especially suspicious when it comes to the police. Ben can’t help but think they are hiding something but doesn’t know what.
Meanwhile, there is one old couple in Withens, the Renshaws, who are more than happy to talk. The problem is, the only topic of conversation is their daughter Emma, who went missing 2 years ago. The Renshaws talk of Emma in the present tense, expecting her to walk through their door at any moment, much to Diane Fry’s bemusement.
Because of Ben Cooper’s secondment to the Rural Crimes Team, Diane has had to use the ever hungry and source of numerous lighter moments, Gavin Murfin. Murfin is taking an increasingly prominent role as the series progresses and is a nice counterpoint to Fry’s more dour by the book attitude.
This series is getting stronger and stronger with each new book and the characters of Ben Cooper and Diane Fry are developing nicely. If you’re after an exceedingly enjoyable police procedural, I strongly recommend this one. In my opinion, this is the best of the series so far.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 27 Mar 2005
Format: Paperback
How fantastic can a book get?? I haven't even finished this one yet, but I feel compelled to write a review about it.
This book is great. It is packed with atmosphere. It is gritty, suspenseful, terrifying, intriguing, and almost impossible to put down. The characters are well thought out, and incredibly well presented. The descriptions of the Derbyshire landscapes is at once, accurate, beautiful and chilling.
From page one of this book, I have been drawn into the story. I am in suspense to find out what happens in the end. Does Cooper get his man? Do the Renshaws find their daughter? What are the secrets surrounding the Oxleys? Who are the border rats, and will Diane Fry finally find peace regarding her missing sister?
If you want a great read, buy this book. You won't be disappointed!
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47 of 53 people found the following review helpful By RachelWalker TOP 500 REVIEWER on 18 Jan 2004
Format: Hardcover
Two years ago, student Emma Renshaw disappeared while on her way home from university. Now, a new discovery in the remote countryside prompts the police to reinvestigate the case. But, Diane Fry, in charge of the investigation, finds herself with a hard task made even worse by Emma's parents, who are still expecting their daughter to be found.
They have been pestering the police and her friends ever since her disappearance, note the time of every phone-call just in case it is Emma, keep her car ready and waiting in the garage, and retain all of her Christmas presents in her bedroom - not touched since she left - upstairs.
Eventually, Diane's search leads her to the dark, isolated village of Withens, where she runs into Ben Cooper, who has been temporarily seconded to the Rural Crime Squad, and is investigating both a series of burglaries and a vicious murder. A young man has been battered and left for dead up on the moors, left for the crows to find, and Ben finds nothing but a wall of silence.
The man is a relative of the Oxleys, the oldest family in the area, descended from the very first men who buried under the moors to build the railways tunnels for 3 miles under the moors. But the Oxleys are a secretive family, protective of their own, and they refuse to talk to Ben, an outsider. Thus, progress on the investigation is almost nil. And, to compound Ben's problems, Diane Fry's sister, who ran off when they were teenagers, turns up out of the blue, seeking his help. She wants him to convince Diane to stop looking for, to forget her private investigations and leave things be. With the two officers' relationship tense and fragile at best, this is a shift in the dynamic which could easily destroy it altogether.
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