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A High Mortality of Doves Paperback – 4 May 2017
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A splendidly macabre thriller with a very dark heart and a hugely effective twist at the end
Kate Ellis has established a deserved reputation for ingenious whodunit plots [and] in A High Mortality of Doves, she breaks new ground. Fascinating, with a characteristically clever twist
Imagine a plot as devious as anything Agatha Christie devised, locate it in a Derbyshire village in 1919 and with writing as close to the pulse as Vera Brittain's Testament of Youth and you will have some idea of the extraordinary power of Kate Ellis's new novel
I loved this novel. Set just after the First World War, its clever plotting hides a powerful story of loss, malice and deception
I absolutely loved this book. It's a perfectly paced crime novel that beautifully evokes both time and place. Kate Ellis keeps you guessing all the way through to the final unexpected twist. This could be an instant classic
A brilliant and shocking new historical thriller from the author of the Wesley Peterson novelsSee all Product description
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Top Customer Reviews
Myrtle Bligh receives a note from the brother she presumed dead in the war asking her to meet him secretly in the local wood to help him out of trouble. Unfortunately Myrtle meets a sadistic death, rather than her brother. When a second woman is killed in the same way the police arrest the local misfit but have to release him when a third body is found. Scotland Yard, in the form of Inspector Albert Lincoln is called in. The case is baffling with plenty of suspects but no firm lines of enquiry.
Apart from anything else the novel has a first rate plot with plenty of turns and a spectacular twist at the end. Normally I can have a good guess at the perpetrator but I was clueless right up until the end and found myself eagerly following all Ms Ellis's hints up all the blind alleys she constructed. It is masterful plotting.
Told alternately in the third person from Albert's point of view and in the first from Flora Winsmore, the doctor's daughter the novel seems intimate and has a very readable style. Albert's narrative concentrates on the investigation and Flora's on the wider impact on the village and the way the war has changed the fabric of their lives. These are rounded characters, however, so their hopes, aspirations and feelings are included. Albert is a lonely man because his wife turned her back on life when their young son died and now barely exists. It is no wonder he falls for the lively Flora. Flora is also lonely. Her mother left years ago, her brother died in the trenches and her father is intent on keeping her at home.Read more ›
The story is told in first person by Flora, the daughter of the village doctor whose experience tending to sick soldiers has given her ambitions to become a professional nurse. She's a clever if somewhat naive character. The other side of the story follows Inspector Albert Lincoln of Scotland Yard, a man who has borne the brunt of his own injuries from the war, plus further tragedy at home as he tries to unravel the secrets of Wenfield.
This is an evocatively written story. Even if like me you're not massively familiar with this period of history you quickly get a sense of the era. There is genuine mystery with a great ending....I sort of guessed the ending but more in a "oh wouldn't it be cool if it was ******** " way rather than a smug "yeah I guessed it" way. My only small criticism is that it was hard to get a sense of how much time was passing. A quite big plot point concerning Flora seemed unlikely before I realised much more time had passed between chapters than I realised.
An evocative and compelling story, I'd recommend this to any mystery lover. Even if historical fiction isn't your usual choice this is definitely deserving of your attention.
The novel is told from two perspectives: Flora, the doctor's daughter who has suffered her own losses, and Albert, the Scotland Yard policeman sent in to help solve the crime. Both weave interesting tales and have engaging back-stories.
The plotting of the novel is very artfully done, with red herrings and plot twists galore. In fact, I think I suspected pretty much everyone over the course of the novel!
The only negative for me is that it took a long time to get into the book; I felt that some of the early chapters were a little slow and that the investigation was quite circuitous in the early days. Maybe that's true to life, but once the book took off, I was hooked!
For fans of historical crime, this is an entertaining read, albeit with a sobering reminder of the impact of WW1 on so many communities.
Thanks to NetGalley for a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
A murder is committed in the small village of Wenfield in Derbyshire. A woman is found stabbed in woods just outside the village with a dead dove stuffed into her mouth. The local police are puzzled and call in Scotland Yard when a second identical murder takes place. Inspector Albert Lincoln - disfigured in World War I, with an arid marriage and a wife who has never recovered from losing their only son in the flu epidemic - is sent to investigate.
The events take place in 1919 when everyone in Wenfield has lost someone in the carnage of World War I. Part of it is narrated by the doctor's daughter - Flora and the rest is told from the point of view of Inspector Lincoln. The book is well written and does evoke the atmosphere of the country after the end of World War I and the devastating flu epidemic.
I didn't work out who the murderer was or why the murders were being committed so when it was revealed it was a shock. Looking back over the book, the clues were there but I didn't place the right importance on them. I recommend this book if you enjoy reading crime stories with a historical setting.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An unusual book about a serial killer in a village in 1919.Has many connections to the War and is an absorbing page turner.Published 1 month ago by LALLY
Didn't see that coming, was fooled all the way through, enjoyed all the red herrings,didn't expect that ending, is there a sexual ?Published 3 months ago by Eike Thomas
3.5 stars. A well written stand alone historical murder mystery from the author of the Wesley Peterson detective novels. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Donna
A most unusual and interesting murder mystery set in the context of the misery and damage caused to a small community by the repercussions of the First World War. Read morePublished 3 months ago by JCH
After only recently discovering (and very much enjoying) Ellis' Wesley Peterson books I was really looking forward to this standalone novel. Read morePublished 3 months ago by BlueReader
Slow start,as this is not my favorurite era. but I like this author so stayed with it. It grew on me and I actually stayed up late to read the end.Published 3 months ago by Scandalous
I agree with all the reviews. Kate Ellis just gets better. Set just after the end of WW1 a new character arrives from London to help solve a crime in a small village. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Magic Fltey