Sixteen years ago, 75 holiday-makers are taken to an offshore island for their day of relaxation in the sun; six hours later, 74 return and a body lies bleeding to death in the sea. No one is ever brought to account… and so begins the fourth instalment in Jim Kelly‘s excellent Norfolk-based ‘Shaw and Valentine’ mysteries. Considered an ideal ‘cold case’ to be re-evaluated, a mass DNA screening is ordered amid much fanfare, but with results that no one could have foreseen; all the more so when one of the 74 turns up dead before their screening can even take place.
A few years ago, I shared my thoughts on the first book to feature the odd pairing of DI Shaw and DS Valentine, Death Wore White, and I am delighted to report that this unlikely coupling is going from strength to strength, with a backstory filled in over the intervening books which forms an integral part of the series. Valentine is the demoted Sergeant to the younger DI Shaw and I have been particularly keen on Kelly’s ability to show how this disparate pair has learned to appreciate one another’s talents and abilities. In Death’s Door, we also have a very effective weaving of past events with a modern day crisis.
This is a superior story that by far exceeds the trend for ‘boys’ own adventures’ – perfect for cold winter evenings, this is a traditional mystery that is a pleasure to read.