Finally hit a pretty bad Dalziel & Pascoe novel. This is the tenth novel, I think, in the series and so far the series has never gotten down to average in my opinion. They’ve always been at least above average; some of them have been great novels. In this one, an old case gets raked up when a young man returns to his small mining community; years before his father committed suicide after being accused of murdering a young girl. He’s back to find out the truth. The mystery here is, I have to say, the simplest one of the entire series. And Pascoe’s crusading wife, Ellie, has a large part to play here, but I thought she was utterly mischaracterized. She’s always in the books, if only in a supporting role, and I appreciate the effort to have her take more of a leading role, but she was butchered beyond recognition; not in a thousand years could I believe that she’d do and say the things she does here. The best thing about the book is a side character who was also in Child’s Play, the previous novel, a police officer who’s retired after being passed up for a big promotion at the end of Child’s Play; he’s bitter, weary and cynical here and I really liked the way he was developed from being the pompous, often comic relief character in Child’s Play into a really sympathetic character in this one. But on the whole, I was really disappointed with this one. 1 ½ stars.
tl;dr – disappointing entry in typically solid detective series is marred by predictable plot & inconsistent characterization. 1 ½ stars.