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Playing with Bones by Kate Ellis
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Fifty years ago in Singmass Close, four young women were killed, their feet mutilated and an antique doll left by the body. No one was every captured and the murders eventually stopped. Now they've started again. In book 2 of the Detective Inspector Joe Plantagenet series, he and his boss, DCI Emily Thwaite, are assigned to investigate a new murder, eerily similar to the ones fifty years ago. In a separate storyline, there's a search underway for Gordon Pledge, a child killer who recently escaped during a van transport.

Joe Plantagenet is a multi-faceted character who's a bit different from the usual police detective. He originally studied for the priesthood, then left it to marry a woman who died shortly after their marriage. The story has a hint of supernatural about it but not so much that it takes over the suspense aspect. There were a few too many coincidences for my liking but the range of suspects was quite large and I never knew who it was until the author played out the entire story. I'm looking forward to the next book in this series, Kissing the Demons. ( )
  Olivermagnus | Aug 9, 2017 |
Fifty years ago, there were four young women killed in the Singmass Close neighborhood. Brutally murdered, mutilated and a porcelain doll left next to the body. The killer was never caught. Now, a new murder has happened that is eerily similar to those initial murders. Is this the work of a copycat or has the original killer somehow returned to kill again?

This is the 2nd book in the Detective Inspector Joe Plantagenet series by Karen Ellis. We pick up the series several months after the end of the 1st book as Joe and his boss, DCI Emily Thwaite, work to stop this killer. In addition to this potential serial killer, the department is on the lookout for escaped murderer Gordon Pledge who was last seen in the area.

Joe Plantagenet is a complex character. Joe originally studied for the priesthood but left seminary to marry a woman, who was killed shortly after the marriage. Following the death of his partner in the Liverpool police department, he transferred to the smaller Eborby station and is trying to start over.

The story itself was well-written and a good read. There were a few too many coincidences for my liking as well as a couple of Too Stupid to Live moments, but overall the mystery was interesting and it kept you guessing ‘til the end. I will definitely continue with the series

Rating: 4.25 ( )
  bhabeck | Apr 2, 2017 |
Kate Ellis certainly delivered on this one! I found the characters to be unique and interesting and the plot well-paced. The book is very well written with great twists and a surprise ending. There is a paranormal element to the series but it is very slight and not overpowering. All in all, a very entertaining read and very worthwhile and I look forward to the other books in the series. I would highly recommend this book to those who love their mysteries with a touch of supernatural. ( )
  EadieB | Mar 22, 2017 |
Playing With Bones by Kate Ellis
Joe Plantagenet series Book #2
4 stars

From The Book:
Is the Doll Strangler back or is a copycat on the loose?

Singmass Close has a sinister past. Reputedly haunted by the ghosts of children, in the 50s it was the hunting ground of the Doll Strangler, a ruthless killer who was never brought to justice. Now DI Joe Plantagenet wonders whether a copycat killer is at work when the strangled body of teenager Natalie Parkes is found in the same close, a mutilated doll lying by her side.

With the recent disappearance of a young female model and an escaped convict at large, this new, horrific murder stretches Joe's team to their limit. But as the bodies start mounting up and Joe's questioning brings him closer to the real strangler, he comes to suspect a shockingly creepy connection between all three cases.

My Thoughts:
I like this series for the very reason that several reviewers did not like it... the supernatural element that seems to be a regular theme in all the installments of this series that is absent in Ellis's Wesley Peterson series. These ghostly wisps tantalizingly float just out of sight in the margins of the story.

Some of the characters were a tad unbelievable in their level stupidly...but it didn't interfere with the enjoyment of the story. The ending was unexpected but entirely plausible. Looking forward to the next in the series. ( )
  Carol420 | Mar 19, 2017 |
Playing With Bones is the second Joe Plantagenet book and author Kate Ellis has delivered another intriguing page-turner. Singmass Close is a small enclosed street that has a history of violence. From rumors of murdered children from the now deserted orphanage, to a series of bizarre crimes in the 1950’s. Now, police have been called there as a young woman has been strangled and mutilated in the same manner as the earlier crimes.

If this isn’t enough to have on their plates, a convicted child killer has escaped and a couple of local girls, apparent runaways with modeling aspirations have also disappeared. DI Joe Plantagenet, his supervisor, DCI Emily Thwaite and the rest of their team are working around the clock to solve all these cases. As another body, killed in the same manner turns up, they realize that they are dealing with a serial killer. As connections and coincidences are slowly revealed, we come to realize that all these cases have a loose connection, and that time is of the essence as the killer is fully prepared to strike again.

Kate Ellis has a wonderful knack of weaving both past and present together to create a atmospheric, slightly creepy read. She makes excellent use of the setting which is the thinly disguised historic town of York, and includes a slight hint of the supernatural to intensify the story. Playing With Bones is a compelling thriller and another good reason to pick up the Joe Plantagenet series. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Jul 15, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0749909331, Paperback)

Three seemingly separate cases quickly become entangled, and DI Joe Plantagenet must sort them out before more lives are lost.
 

Singmass Close has a sinister past, reputedly haunted by the ghosts of children. In the 1950s it was the hunting ground of the Doll Strangler, a ruthless killer who was never brought to justice. Now DI Joe Plantagenet wonders whether a copycat killer is at work when the strangled body of teenager Natalie Parkes is found with a mutilated doll lying by her side. With the recent disappearance of a young female model and an escaped convict at large, this new, horrific murder stretches Joe’s team to their limit. But as the bodies start mounting up and Joe’s questioning brings him closer to the real strangler, he comes to suspect a shocking connection between all three cases.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:32 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

In the 1950s Singmass Close was the scene of four murders committed by a killer known as the 'Doll Strangler', who was never brought to justice. Following the discovery of another body, DI Joe Plantagenet wonders whether a copycat killer is at work, or whether the Doll Strangler himself has returned.… (more)

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