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Too many bodies
on 13 May 2012
The fifth outing for Brian McGilloway's Inspector Benedict Devlin, pretty much following the same format as the last book; troubles at home, troubles with lacklustre authorities and troubles with hardened criminals. The first of these troubles tends to sway the novel off the well trodden track of a police investigation into the unfortunate discovery of seven little bodies buried in a non-specific graveyard reserved for unchristened Catholics, amongst others. And it's the 'amongst others' that creates the basis for this story. The Commission for the Location of Victim's Remains discovers the body of a small child whilst searching for another body connected to the killing of an informant.
Devlin knows he cannot pursue an investigation relating to the body they were looking for but he has a hard time being convinced that this rule applies to the little girl. He remains unconvinced. It's a rather complicated plot because these later deaths of the babies all seem to lead to modern day criminals who carry on with their killing under the noses of the investigators. Devlin has, as before, significant help from his friend in the North, DI Jim Hendry, principally because the burying ground straddles the north/south border and Hendry can take a few more liberties.
Devlin's troubles at home centre aound a teenage daughter who was seriously injured in a riding incident in a previous book now finding her rebellious nature leading her to a liaison with the son of Devlin's nemesis, Morrison and Devlin's younger son feeling left out in the family heirarchy. I don't know whether all this social angst works. Another author has tried this but, for me, it tends to slow the pace of the book.
Anyway, Devlin is up and running, making discoveries about missing children, saddened mothers and criminals preying on the desperate need for some to have a child, not necessarily their own.
He's a likeable character is Ben Devlin. He gets the job done, he puts up with his seniors always looking over their shoulder - and his, wondering about their promotion chances. And he faces up to the embedded criminals in the Irish underworld on both sides of the border.
The book reads well, it's entertaining and the author manages to continue with his series, leaving the reader waiting for the next book to see where Devlin might take us.