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The Sleeping and the Dead by Ann Cleeves

The Sleeping and the Dead

by Ann Cleeves

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First Line: Peter Porteous walked to work.

Detective Chief Inspector Peter Porteous couldn't really handle the stress of big city policing, so he moved to a small village where he could walk to work and carefully structure his life to avoid as much turmoil as possible. Unfortunately the countryside is going through a period of drought. The level of Cranwell Lake lowers to the point where a body is uncovered. Porteous soon identifies the body as that of Michael Grey, a teenager who went missing thirty years before. But instead of speeding the investigation, the identification of the body only creates more mystery.

I first came to the books of Ann Cleeves through the excellent Raven Black, the first book in her Shetland Islands quartet. Then I read A Bird in the Hand, the first George and Molly Palmer-Jones mystery, and then The Crow Trap, the first Inspector Vera Stanhope mystery. I was beginning to think that Cleeves could do no wrong. And although she doesn't do much wrong in The Sleeping and the Dead, compared to her other books, this one hits a bit of a sour note.

The sour note has almost everything to do with the main character, Peter Porteous. Perhaps it was a mistake to portray him as a bit of a washout from a city police force. He's a fussy man who loves to keep to a certain schedule throughout the day. He believes that overtime is unnecessary during a murder investigation, and his true sleuthing strength lies in finding the small clues and details that are buried deep in the paperwork. Not exactly exciting or particularly cerebral. Peter Porteous does know his own limitations, and he is better suited to the life of a small town copper.

There's really nothing wrong with this book. The characters are well-drawn as is the setting, and the mystery does need to be unraveled. It's a very competent book, and that shows the brilliance of Ann Cleeves-- that a very "competent" book is nowhere near her best! ( )
  cathyskye | Apr 29, 2010 |
The stabbed body of a teenage boy is found at the bottom of a lake after a drought, 30 years after his murder. Nobody seems to know who he really was, how he came to be living in the area and what could have happened to him. He seemed to have appeared out of the blue, and his disappearance was accepted as part of his mystery.

As Inspector Peter Porteous and Detective Eddie Stout wrestle with this mystery that seems to have no answers but only questions every corner they turn, another teenage murder take place. Is it related to the body in the lake? What would these 2 teenagers a generation apart, have had in common that would cause someone to need to kill them both?

As our homicide team interviews hostile, unwilling, and even the morbidly excited people, taking them back to events that would have taken place more than 30 years ago, repressed memories surface, old secrets are uncovered, and yet more questions emerge.

This is an excellent piece of crime fiction. We are kept guessing right until the very last page. ( )
  cameling | Apr 10, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0330488023, Paperback)

A diving instructor makes a gruesome discovery in Cranwell Lake - the body of a teenager who has clearly been in the water for many years. Detective Peter Porteous is called to the scene. After trailing through the missing persons files, he deduces that the corpse is Michael Grey, an enigmatic and secretive young man who was reported missing by his foster parents in 1972. As the police investigation gets under way in Cranwell, on the other side of the country prison officer Hannah Morton is about to get the shock of her life. For Michael was her boyfriend, and she was with him the night he disappeared. The news report that a body has been found brings back dreaded and long buried memories from her past...'Cleeves again excels in her sense of place in this cleverly plotted psychological thriller' - "The Times".

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:23 -0400)

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Peter Porteous left the pressures of big city crime to be a small town cop, but he soon finds out there's no getting away from murder. A body missing for 30 years turns up when water levels drop in Cranwell Lake.

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