Click here to read reviewer Michael Leonard's take on Let the Dead Speak.
Casey’s Detective Sergeant Maeve Kerrigan of the Metropolitan Police returns
with a new mystery to solve. Still waiting for the ex-lover who has yet to make
contact since leaving their apartment, Maeve finds it convenient to bury her feelings in a case, even with Detective Inspector Josh Derwent by her side. Their boss, Chief Inspector Una Burt, watches both her detectives for any misstep in the line of duty; though both are excellent detectives, they are known to follow their own instincts instead of the orders she has given. And as the team reports to the scene of a crime, Maeve is assigned a new addition to the team: Detective Constable Georgia Shaw, on her freshman assignment.
The case begins with a shocking discovery: when
18-year-old Chloe Emery returns home early from a visit to her father, she
discovers a house soaked in blood, the obvious scene of a terrible crime.
Chloe’s mother Kate is nowhere to be found. While the girl takes up temporary
residence next door with her friend, Bethany Norris, the team tackles the
time-consuming task of assembling evidence, determined to find the body that
left all this blood behind. Chloe refuses to talk about her experience. Kerrigan accepts the fact that the young woman will require special attention and leaves the interview for the next day.
Not to worry. There is no shortage of people on the interview list: the devout Norrises, Oliver and Eleanor; Oliver’s cynical brother, Morgan; and Gareth Selhurst, the overbearing elder of their church. Chloe’s father,
absorbed with his new wife and her unruly sons, must be informed as well. Then there is William Turner, a local young man who has befriended both Chloe and
15-year-old Bethany Norris. These characters present a Gordian knot of potential clues, distractions and secrets that do little to help the detectives find Kate Emery’s body.
Usually at her best in the middle of a case, Maeve is frustrated by the lack of a body, struggling to put it all together, often in the company of Josh Derwent--and the currently ubiquitous Georgia Shaw. Derwent’s life has dramatically changed- for the better; Kerrigan’s
is yet to be resolved. Their usual banter continues, Maeve resisting her
partner’s sense of superiority. The two are very alike: passionate on behalf of
victims, often breaking rules, dealing with consequences later. DCI Una Burt constantly monitors their activities; one or the other usually walks a fine line, especially with this case: a murder without a corpse. Because this investigation is so unique, literally everyone reluctant to cooperate with the detectives, the banter between Maeve and Josh becomes a vital link, necessary to release the tensions and complications of locating Kate’s body.
Casey has a talent for compelling London mysteries, Kerrigan an impressive protagonist. In Let the Dead Speak, is replete with odd characters and dark secrets, her subjects’ capacity for betrayal
requiring more than the usual effort. In this particular case, the scrappy detectives are more tolerable than the cast of characters they are dealing with. Predictably, solving the case is a priority for Kerrigan and Derwent.
The climax is breathtaking, really, this talented author always leaving me impatient for more.