Thursday, April 29, 2010
The Sleeping and the Dead by Ann Cleeves
Title: The Sleeping and the Dead
Author: Ann Cleeves
ISBN: 9781932859416, Bloody Brits Press, 2007
Genre: Police Procedural
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!
My Book Rating Scale:
A+...Don't delay, get your hands on a copy of this book!
A...I loved it!
B...I really liked it.
C...I liked it, with a few reservations.
D...I finished it, but it's not my cup of tea.
- Phoenix, Arizona, United States
- Hi! I'm addicted to books (especially crime fiction), laughter and traveling off the beaten path. In my free time, when my eyes aren't glued to the printed page, one of them is usually pressed against the viewfinder of my camera. Let's see... books, laughter, travel, photography. Anything else? Oh yeah-- my dream house wouldn't have a kitchen!
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.