Blood on the Tongue A Crime Novel Author:Stephen Booth Amazon.com Review — The weather is cold and the clues no warmer as Peak District detectives Ben Cooper and Diane Fry tackle a medley of mysteries--each one knottier than the last--in English author Stephen Booth's haunting third novel, Blood on the Tongue. The unidentified body of a dead man has turned up on a frosty roadside. An abused woman is ... more »found curled in the snow on nearby Irontongue Hill, an apparent suicide. And there's the lingering puzzle of a Royal Air Force bomber that crashed into Irontongue back in 1945, killing everyone on board except for the pilot, who reportedly walked away from the wreckage... and was never heard from again. With leave and sickness decimating the ranks of the Edendale police force, all hands are needed to solve the modern deaths. But constable Cooper finds himself distracted by the World War II tragedy, in large part because of a beguiling young Canadian, the granddaughter of that missing pilot, who's come to Edendale determined to clear her ancestor's name.
Not surprisingly, these various cases eventually intertwine. But how they're linked by time and tragedy provides the intrigue here. Equally involving is the prickly alliance between Cooper, the "too bloody nice" local lad, and his superior, the emotionally guarded outsider, Fry. Plotted for maximum psychological suspense, teeming with singular secondary characters, and capitalizing on Britain's still-poignant memories of the last world war, Blood on the Tongue is an ambitious and remarkably mature work that delivers on the promise Booth showed in his first novel, Black Dog.
From Publishers Weekly
The overworked police of Edendale (England) face their greatest challenge yet in Booth's outstanding third mystery (after 2001's Dancing with the Virgins). Det. Constable Ben Cooper, young, dedicated, diffident and thoroughly unorthodox, and his supervisor, Det. Sergeant Diane Fry, efficient, ambitious, aggressive and businesslike, are nearly overwhelmed when confronted by a vicious beating of two men that may have been fueled by racial hatreds, an unidentified corpse uncovered by a snowplow, and another corpse found frozen in the hills of the Peak District. A missing infant and a Canadian woman investigating what happened to her grandfather after his Lancaster bomber crashed 57 years before further complicate the absorbing, complex plot. The author examines the Polish community of Edendale, probing its insularity, its customs, passions and pride, and his country characters, like George Malkin of remote Hollow Shaw Farm, leave vivid, lasting impressions. Best of all are the interrelationships, particularly the wonderful tension that thrums the air between Fry and Cooper as respect and admiration war with suspicion and distrust to produce an almost erotic attraction. The early promise of Booth's debut novel, Black Dog, is fully realized here, and new readers should scurry to find his earlier books.« less