Thursday, August 13, 2020

Grave's End by William Shaw

First Line: There have always been a few people here, coming and going, passing through, usually in the company of dogs.
 
The body of a naked man has been found in a freezer in an empty country house. The man is identified as Vincent Gibbons, a man well-known to Detective Sergeant Alexandra Cupidi's seventeen-year-old daughter Zoë who is a staunch animal rights activist.
 
Could Gibbons' death have anything to do with the Whiteland Fields real estate development which is scheduled to build hundreds of new houses in a bucolic area filled with wildlife? Cupidi's investigation will lead her to Whitehall and meetings with ministers, to local resident Frank Collins who was arrested for badger baiting, and to the past history of Thornhead, a boys boarding school. All this will also lead her straight into the path of danger.
 
I had read that this third book was the last in a trilogy featuring Alexandra Cupidi, and I sincerely hope it's not. Shaw has captured my imagination with his atmospheric setting in the Romney Marsh area of southeastern England, with his characters, and with his stories. 
 
In Grave's End, the characters are marvelous. I have to admit that my favorite is an old badger, for those animals figure prominently in the book. I was amazed at how much I learned about these creatures-- and by how much I looked forward to the old badger's voice. (No, he's not a talking badger, but we do get to see Whiteland Fields and the other characters through his eyes.) The main cast of characters is so well-drawn that they are beginning to feel like friends, yet another reason why I don't want Shaw to stop writing about them. Jill Ferriter is even more opinionated, probably because she's trying to find a decent man to have a relationship with. Many of her opinions are completely at odds with mine, but I like her anyway. Ex-cop Bill South is now working for an ecological survey company, and watching this loner letting Alex and Zoë into his life is both touching and humorous. Zoë is now a deeply committed ecological activist. If you're going to do something that will hurt any sort of wildlife, expect her to get right in your face and not move. It's also fun to watch city girl Alex Cupidi's attitude change toward the countryside. Will she ever completely adapt? I'd like to find out.
 
It's a joy to watch all the pieces of this intricate mystery come together. For me, the only thing that marred Grave's End was a TSTL (Too Stupid To Live) moment Alex had at the end, although, yes, it does show that when she's intent on solving a case, she puts blinders on to almost everything else around her. And how can readers not love a book that contains this bit of dialogue between Alex and Zoë: "How come you know all this...stuff?" "I read books, Mum...You should try it sometime."

This is one of the most compelling series I've read in a long time, and I urge you all to read it. I'd suggest starting with The Birdwatcher even though it's not listed as part of the series because it's readers' first encounter with Bill South and Alexandra Cupidi. Then follow up with Salt Lane, Deadland, and Grave's End. Chances are, once you've sampled this series, you'll be just like me-- hoping that there's more to come.

Grave's End by William Shaw
ISBN: 9781529401806
Riverrun Books © 2020
Hardcover, 475 pages

Police Procedural, #3 DS Alexandra Cupidi mystery
Rating: A
Source: Purchased from Amazon UK
 

23 comments:

  1. Ooh, a complex mystery! That's enough to get my attention, Cathy. I really like the setting for this one, too, and the context. And it's not a long series, either (at least, thus far) - it's always nice to 'meet' a series when there's a chance of catching up with it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, those 20+ book series are a bit daunting!

      Delete
  2. I have really enjoyed this series and look forward to this one!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He's got another series set in 1960s London that I've got the first book to (She's Leaving Home). I'm looking forward to that one, too!

      Delete
  3. I have the first 3 to read (which includes The Birdwatcher) and this book is winging its way to me as I write this. Should be here in a few days. Looking forward to reading all 4 of them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If I weren't so far behind in my reading, I'd almost envy you!

      Delete
  4. I was about to put this one on my TBR and/or library hold list when I saw your note about staring with The Birdwatcher despite it not officially being part of the series. Thanks for the heads-up about that quirk.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome. For me, it was important to see the first incarnations of Bill South and Alexandra Cupidi.

      Delete
  5. The Birdwatcher is an Aplus book in my opinion. So good. I read Salt Lane and Deadland, and I have to get Grave's End somehow. By hook or by crook. A good series.
    And I like that line by Zoe to her mother, although I never would have said that to my mother. Well, books were like a fifth being in our house, books everywhere, constant reading going on. Different genres, but they were being read. And they are all around my house, friends.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just got some good news from William Shaw-- this isn't the last book in the series. He turned in the next one to his publisher a month ago!

      Delete
  6. I'm always looking for new books in this genre to read. Thanks for this review.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks to saying that this series isn't over. I have to get this book. Did you guy it or use a Kindle?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I bought it from Amazon UK, and it took over three months to get here. Amazon US has it now, but it looks like stock is low.

      Delete
  8. I put it in my cart at Amazon, but I am contemplating buying a buy more books. But $100 can just go like that when one order 5 real books.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As a dear friend would say, "Ain't that the truth!"

      Delete
  9. Well, it was my birthday in July and I didn't treat myself enough.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Then you definitely need to take care of that oversight!

      Delete
  10. I have four books lined up to buy at Amazon and Abe Books. Now to make it a fifth and I'll hit my $100 goal!

    ReplyDelete
  11. This is one of them. Also, am getting The Quickening, my first Gothic mystery: seances, ghosts, feminism! A foray into a new genre by a friend. Should be a challenge.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I am going to enjoy it because the author is great.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for taking the time to make a comment. I really appreciate it!