The long-awaited eighth book in the DI Charlie Priest soap opera finds our hero still struggling to find a soul mate after his lamentable catalogue of failed relationships.
His latest target is the geology teacher from his night school class, Rosie, but when she finds out he’s a policeman, she doesn’t want to know anymore. Why?
Not that Charlie is a cop NYDP style. His current cases involve knickers stolen from clothes lines and food poisoning in a local supermarket. Hardly 89th Precinct stuff.
Furthermore, instead of spending every waking hour in a personal crusade against crime, he is more concerned about the minutia of everyday life like walking in the Fells and the scandalous price of CD’s.
It turns out Rosie’s father was hung for murder years ago and she is trying to prove he was innocent. Will Charlie be able to find out the truth and, if he does, will he dare reveal the answer to his would-be lover?
Charlie belongs to the Dixon rather than the Sweeney School of English policeman. Heartbeat for the 21st century. I even found myself compiling the soundtrack for the companion CD as I read it. White Stripes and Death Cab for Cutie figure prominently, after Dylan of course.
The Yorkshire setting has never been invoked so well since Gil North’s wonderful atmospheric Sergeant Cluff novels about Gunnershaw (aka Skipton), forty years ago. Pawson’s characters are totally believable and the plots neatly resolved.
If things don’t work out with Rosie, I fear Charlie will have to try computer dating. He doesn’t do lonely bachelor well.
If you haven’t read Stuart Pawson yet, you have a treat in store .His one-liners would fill a diary. (‘Miss Lewis’s underwear came under more scrutiny than the Turin Shroud’). Start with The Picasso Scam and read on.