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Dead Heading by Catherine Aird
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I decided to borrow this from my local library after seeing a tribute to Catherine Aird on Martin Edwards' blog after the CWA announced she had been awarded the Diamond Dagger for sustained excellence in her work.
Edwards says

Her plots are clever, her characters and situations are entertaining,and her humour a real bonus..

Despite the number of books Aird has written (see Fantastic Fiction for the list), I have never reviewed one in the history of this blog.

DEAD HEADING was true to Edwards' summary: a clever two-pronged plot where the strands finally merge, but it is hard to see for most of the book how they will. A cozy in the British tradition and a fine mystery. I also enjoyed the characters of the two main detectives and their boss. It didn't seem to matter that I had come in at the end, rather than the beginning, of the series.
1 vote smik | Feb 16, 2015 |
Detective Sloan and his sidekick Crosby are sent to Berebury to investigate two cases--one being a woman missing 3 weeks and the other being the killing of orchids by an intruder to area greenhouses. The woman had worked for the local doctor and appeared to be liked by no one. The doors to the greenhouses housing the orchids were left open, leaving the orchids to die of frost, even though the greenhouse employees were certain that the doors were closed when they left for the evening. We meet a cast of locals who take gardening seriously or who have interacted with other players in the mystery. There appears to be a slight link between the two cases, but is it real or imagined for Sloan? I'll let you read the book to discover the outcome. While the mystery was light and enjoyable, there were some things that didn't work quite as well as they should have. One of those is the dialogue between characters. It was a little flat and often did not add to the plot. The other was that the some of the characters were not developed quite as fully as they needed to be in order to keep them straight in the reader's head. On the positive side, Aird delivered red herrings effectively enough to keep the readers second-guessing the person they had in mind for the perpetrator, even if they might have continued to hold onto their theory after sorting through it in their own minds. Those who enjoy light police procedurals, British cozy detective fiction, or plots with a gardening angle will enjoy this installment even though it is not one of the stronger ones in the series. ( )
  thornton37814 | Aug 12, 2014 |
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When Jack Haines reports a break-in at his greenhouse, the motive of the intruder is unclear. Other than the destruction of some expensive orchids, no damage had been done, and nothing seems to be missing. But Detective Chief Inspector C.D Sloan senses something sinister in this seemingly minor action.… (more)

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