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An Unhallowed Grave by Kate Ellis

An Unhallowed Grave (1999)

by Kate Ellis

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An Unhallowed Grave by Kate Ellis is the third entry in her Wesley Peterson series which mixes detective fiction with archaeology. When a middle aged woman is found hung from a yew tree in the churchyard, it is at first suspected to be suicide, but further investigation leads to a verdict of murder.

Pauline Brent is the quiet, well-liked doctor’s receptionist and the police are stymied as to who could have killed her and why. It is only when Pauline’s past comes to light that the police find they have numerous suspects. Meanwhile Wesley’s friend, archaeologist Eric has uncovered a skeleton in a nearby Medieval excavation whose history seems remarkably similar to Pauline’s. Only by following both these cases, Wesley and his boss, DI Gerry Heffernan are able to put all the pieces together.

This was an intricate mystery with plenty of atmosphere. The author gives the reader enough twists and turns to keep us guessing as she neatly links the past to the present. I would like to see Police Sergeant Wesley Peterson be given a little growth and emotional depth, but overall this is a solid police procedural series. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Aug 5, 2017 |
A serviceable English police detective story with the addition of a mystery from 600 years prior. Well worth a summer read. ( )
  DeaconBernie | Jul 18, 2013 |
A solid mystery and a good addition to the Wesley Peterson series. In this novel, the “dishy” and intelligent, dark-skinned detective investigates the murder of a middle-aged doctor’s receptionist. Like in all the other tales of this series, as the story of the victim’s life unfolds, it shows parallels with another mystery, the one a local archeologist and Wesley’s friend Neil Watson is working on at the nearby dig – the story of an unhallowed grave.
The multitude of repeat characters makes reading this book akin to meeting old friends.
Very satisfactory.
( )
  olga_godim | Oct 4, 2012 |
When the body of a middle-aged woman is found hanging from a yew tree in Stokeworthy churchyard, the police suspect foul play. But the victim is an unlikely one. Pauline Brent was the local doctor's receptionist and well-liked. She seems to have had no real enemies. And yet someone killed her.
The case is investigated by Detective Sergeant Wesley Peterson, his boss, Inspector Gerry Heffernan, and archaeologist Neil Watson, who is excavating on the site of a proposed holiday development nearby when he discovers an ancient corpse.
Local legend has it that many centuries ago a young woman was hanged from the yew in the churchyard. Has Neil discovered her body buried at the crossroads in an unhallowed grave? Why was she hanged? And why is she sharing her last resting place with a set of rare medieval statues? It seems an unlikely coincidence - two women hanged from the same tree many centuries apart.
Wesley is forced to consider the possibility that the killer also knows the tree's history. Has Pauline Brent been "executed" rather than murdered? And if so, for what crime?

I have read another book from this series and remember thinking at the time that I should read more. I enjoyed my re-acquaintance with amateur archaeologist Detective Sergeant Wesley Peterson and those he works with. The relationships between characters are well explored and there is a historical thread running throughout. ( )
  smik | Dec 2, 2010 |
A local woman is found hanged in the graveyard and it turns out to be murder. When Wesley Peterson etc investigate while his friend digs nearby. Again history and modern investigations parallel each other. An interesting story but the parallels are a bit laboured even at only book 3. ( )
  wyvernfriend | Mar 31, 2007 |
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For David and Mona Ellis
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The girl looked out the window. (Prologue)
The two teenage girls stood at the churchyard gate, trying to hide the nervousness they felt. (Chapter One)
The silence came like an explosion. Sudden. Unexpected. Shocking.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0749937009, Paperback)

When the body of Pauline Brent is found hanging from a yew tree in a local graveyard, DS Wesley Peterson immediately suspects foul play. Meanwhile Wesley's archaeologist friend Neil Watson has excavated a corpse at his nearby dig, that of a young woman who—local legend has it—had been publicly hanged from the very same tree before being buried on unhallowed ground five centuries ago. Wesley is forced to consider the possibility that the killer knows the tree's dark history. Has Pauline also been executed rather than murdered? To catch a dangerous killer Wesley must discover as much as he can about the victim, but Pauline appears to have been a woman with few friends, no relatives, and a past she has carefully tried to hide.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:27 -0400)

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