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Blood on the Tongue by Stephen Booth

Blood on the Tongue (2002)

by Stephen Booth

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Police procedural set in England? Check.
Ties to an incident in WW2? Check.
Ties to an incident in WW2 that involves a plane crash? Check.

This book ticks a lot of boxes for me, and for my first foray into the Cooper and Fry series I liked it pretty well. It was a bonus that a Canadian character showed up, and I loved the description of Eden Valley Books. Used bookstores in fiction are almost as fun as the real thing. I liked the sense of place in this book, and the contrast between local boy Cooper and import Fry. I would pick up another in the series. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Mar 8, 2018 |
As usual, a solid police procedural with plenty of descriptive detail about the Peak District. There are deaths in the cold winter, and links to a WW2 crashed aeroplane, Competently told but the (lack of) chemistry between Fry and Cooper is irritating. ( )
  jkdavies | Jun 18, 2016 |
It took me a while to pick up this third book in the Cooper and Fry series, and I'm glad I finally did. Blood on the Tongue is an excellent blend of old crime and new. Many threads in the story go all the way back to World War II when a bomber crashed on Irontongue Hill, and-- rumor has it-- the Canadian pilot walked away with a very large shipment of money they were transporting to another airbase. It's a complex and very gratifying plot that Booth has created, and I certainly enjoyed trying to piece together all the clues.

I continue to have mixed reactions to the author's dynamic duo of Fry and Cooper. Ben Cooper is the kind of man everyone seems to like and to go to for help. He's nice, he's easy-going, and he has some good intuitive skills that are handy in police work. Him I like, although I should probably be ashamed of falling for him so easily. I'm normally not such a pushover.

On the other hand, Fry continues to rub my fur the wrong way, even though I know what happened in the past to help turn her into a person who acts more like a starving pit bull with toothache. I find that I quickly become exasperated with her when she's on the scene. Fortunately she's seldom in the spotlight in Blood on the Tongue, so I never wanted to throw the book at the wall.

Even though it has little to do with the actual merits of this book, I think my reading enjoyment was enhanced by a trip to the UK last year in which I experienced blizzard-like conditions, road closures and the like in the Peak District. I found myself being able to picture the countryside, feel the bite of the wind, and hear the crunch of the snow under my feet. Even without my "insider's" knowledge of the weather, I think any reader can and will appreciate those outdoor scenes.

Now that I've thawed out enough to share my opinion of this book, I find myself looking forward to reading the next in the series. If only I could find some way not to react so strongly to Diane Fry! ( )
  cathyskye | Aug 3, 2014 |
Did not finish. Got about 1/3 through the book before realizing it's not the first in the series. ( )
  lesmel | May 18, 2013 |
Third in the Cooper and Fry police procedural series, set in the Peak District in England. This book takes place in winter and combines several plot threads dealing with deaths both new and old (World War II-vintage old). Excellent characterization, plot and setting; one of the best mysteries I read in 2007. ( )
  auntieknickers | Apr 3, 2013 |
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For Eric Jefferson
First words
It was an hour before dawn when Detective Constable Ben Cooper first began to get the news.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
ISBN 0062390430 is for A Cooper and Fry Mystery Collection #1
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 000713066X, Paperback)

The weather is cold and the clues no warmer as Peak District detectives Ben Cooper and Diane Fry tackle a medley of mysteries--each one knottier than the last--in English author Stephen Booth's haunting third novel, Blood on the Tongue. The unidentified body of a dead man has turned up on a frosty roadside. An abused woman is found curled in the snow on nearby Irontongue Hill, an apparent suicide. And there's the lingering puzzle of a Royal Air Force bomber that crashed into Irontongue back in 1945, killing everyone on board except for the pilot, who reportedly walked away from the wreckage... and was never heard from again. With leave and sickness decimating the ranks of the Edendale police force, all hands are needed to solve the modern deaths. But constable Cooper finds himself distracted by the World War II tragedy, in large part because of a beguiling young Canadian, the granddaughter of that missing pilot, who's come to Edendale determined to clear her ancestor's name.

Not surprisingly, these various cases eventually intertwine. But how they're linked by time and tragedy provides the intrigue here. Equally involving is the prickly alliance between Cooper, the "too bloody nice" local lad, and his superior, the emotionally guarded outsider, Fry. Plotted for maximum psychological suspense, teeming with singular secondary characters, and capitalizing on Britain's still-poignant memories of the last world war, Blood on the Tongue is an ambitious and remarkably mature work that delivers on the promise Booth showed in his first novel, Black Dog. --J. Kingston Pierce

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:58:40 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

It wasn't the easist way to commit suicide. Marie Tennent seemed just to have curled up in the freezing snow and stayed there until her body frosted over. And her's isn't the only death the police have to contend with - not after the discovery of a baby in a burned out air-force bomber, and the body of a man dumped by a road side.… (more)

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