BORING!!!!!! A decent mystery but the British police have no sense of humor whatsoever and what they do have isn't funny but annoying as hell. I liked detective Sloan but his partner was a rather dim bulb. The detectives boss was the most annoying person who kept complaining about the youths attending a cafe outside his office and he couldn't tell if they were male or female. They had this conversation at least 5 times and it had absolutely nothing to do with the mystery so who cares. A few of the people questioned in the investigation had major health issues and weazed, coughed, snorted repeatedly. It made hearing their comments aggravating and like pulling teeth. All in all, if you're interested in this book, don't get the audio version as it will drive you absolutely nuts. If you can get past all of this, the mystery itself was engaging and had a surprise ending.
Typical 'Sloan' mystery...good plot, good characters! Catherine Aird is a "must" for all readers of this genre.
Dangerous moonlight illuminated the English skies the night a German bomb razed the houses in Lamb Lane, Berebury. Then three decades quietly passed before a careless workman's pickaxe struck an old skeleton buried under the wreckage... and exhumed a new case of murder for Detective Inspector CD. Sloan. Time had blacked out the clues. All that remained were a body... an unborn baby. . . and a bullet. Could the Inspector's uncanny investigative instincts now unearth a killer? Or would this delayed action affair explode and send another victim to moulder in the grave?
A 1970's police procedural with Insp. Sloan and Detective Constrable Crosby. A body is found in a building site left over from a 1941 bombing site. A short book which gives an interesting insight in what it felt to be in England during the bombing raids. Ms. Aird describes much with few words.
Very old fashioned murder mystery, which I enjoy more for a glimpse into British life in the 60s and (this one) early 70s than for the writing style or the challenge of the mystery. While we might think that the Swinging 60s wrought an instant transformation on the British Isles, Aird makes it clear from the setting and context of her murders, and the attitudes of her characters, that change took time to percolate through to places like the little market towns of the fictional "Calleshire" (her version of Midsomer, for cozy mystery fans).
This is the fourth Aird novel I've read, and the context of the mystery (skeleton remains discovered in the ruins of homes bombed, 30 years before, during WWII) is interesting, and probably reflects genuine attitudes to the war, as time passed and memories faded. However, the revelation of the murderer is pretty uninspired: like mystery sodduku, rather than anything emerging from character development, or sharp insights into the human condition ...
As I've always viewed Inspector Sloan's stories to be contemporary, it was a shock to be learning about bomb rubble still standing. It is hard to imagine it taking 30 years (this book was originally published in 1971) to clear a bomb site.
Pathology consultant Dr. Dabbe quickly squashes the idea that the bones found on Lamb Lane were left from WWII bombs. He also announces that the bones are of a woman, who happened to be pregnant.
Odd facts just keep piling up. Before any excavation work starts, archaeologists are to be notified so they might check for ancient bones, etc. The notice wasn't sent in a timely manner; when the actual diggers arrived, someone had moved the pegs.
It is fascinating to watch the old-timers recall facts and tidbits of gossip from a bygone era. It brings home the uniqueness of village life in England; families live in the same place for generations.
As usual, Superintendent Leeyes wants the possible murder solved quickly -- or maybe even labeled as a 'historical' death. But my favorite part of the story is the constant undercurrent of wry humor and nonsensical asides that mark Catherine Aird's novels.
I probably laughed hardest when the site foreman complained about the lawyers involved. "They argued that these archaeological remains hadn't been provided for in the contract...." (chapter 2, page 25). After rereading this, I realize that only the book's readers might understand how funny this is.
Sincere Inspector Sloan is trying to finish the case so the clearing and construction can begin again, but he is hampered by Detective Constable Crosby, commonly known as defective constable -- at the CID. Did I mention that Catherine Aird is one of my favorite authors?