Riverrun | 18 March 2021 | 480 pgs
This book is the third installment featuring DS Alexandra Cupidi and the more I read of this series the more I'm liking it.
Alexandra and her colleague, Constable Jill Ferriter, are called to look into a case after a couple discovers a body in a freezer in an empty mansion which is up for sale. Since the owner hardly lives there, no one knows how or why the body was buried there. The body was later identified as a Vincent Gibbons, who was a naturalist and was active in a protest campaign of a housing development and its developer, Whiteland Fields. The campaign is valid to some locals, even Cupidi's teenage daughter, Zoe, think that the developments will threaten the badgers setts which have been around for decades and not to mention would cause a disruption to the wildlife. To complicate matters, Jill has just began to date Harry French, who's the developer and later becomes their suspect after a human bone was found buried within the development site. The discovery of the bone is purely accidental, thanks to the digging of an old badger after his terrority has been compromised.
Cupidi's investigation of the bone led them to a case of a boy who went missing twenty five years ago. These two investigations soon caught the interest of the Housing minister, and Cupidi later find herself being caught in the world of politics and the environmentalism issue specifically the protection given to badgers by the law. As Cupidi digs deeper (pun intended) into these two cases, it becomes clear that there is a connection but there's no evidence and worse still, someone will go to any lengths to stop Cupidi's further investigation, including murder.
Once again, I find myself drawn to William Shaw's writing and the developments between Cupidi and Ferriter as the series go. The countryside setting in Dungeness, Kent, is vividly described and I liked it that the author even feature the perspective of an old male badger in this installment. This endearing creature plays part of an important role in this story and I find it refreshing reading about their habitats and livelihood through his eyes. There are multiple threads to this story, but they're nicely linked and there're also enough red herrings alongside a few issues like class divide, abuse and even civilisation (which is always a thought-provoking topic). This book works fine as a standalone, but it is best to start from the first book as far as characters developments go.
The DS Alex Cupidi Series:
#1 Salt Lake (my review here)
#2 Deadlane (my review here)
#3 Grave's End
#4 The Trawlerman
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