Cleeves is a British writer and I find that most of the British authors have a different style than most, they use a lot of words and slang unfamiliar with American writing and at times makes it hard to translate the meaning, but this one I found to be just boring in every way.
I was disappointed and gave up after just a few chapters because I thought it started out with maybe a good thriller to it but no way, it just drags on and on and introduces a lot of characters and from then it is just a lot of descriptions from the past for each character, maybe it is meant for you to 'get to know them' but I find that is just boring and doesn't have anything to do with a storyline it is just page filler.
I got this from the library so it didn't cost anything and I'm relieved I didn't spend any money on it.
Detective Chief Inspector Peter Porteous couldn't really handle the stress of big city policing, so he moved to a small village where he could walk to work and carefully structure his life to avoid as much turmoil as possible. Unfortunately the countryside is going through a period of drought. The level of Cranwell Lake lowers to the point where a body is uncovered. Porteous soon identifies the body as that of Michael Grey, a teenager who went missing thirty years before. But instead of speeding the investigation, the identification of the body only creates more mystery.
I first came to the books of Ann Cleeves through the excellent Raven Black, the first book in her Shetland Islands quartet. Then I read A Bird in the Hand, the first George and Molly Palmer-Jones mystery, and then The Crow Trap, the first Inspector Vera Stanhope mystery. I was beginning to think that Cleeves could do no wrong. And although she doesn't do much wrong in The Sleeping and the Dead, compared to her other books, this one hits a bit of a sour note.
The sour note has almost everything to do with the main character, Peter Porteous. Perhaps it was a mistake to portray him as a bit of a washout from a city police force. He's a fussy man who loves to keep to a certain schedule throughout the day. He believes that overtime is unnecessary during a murder investigation, and his true sleuthing strength lies in finding the small clues and details that are buried deep in the paperwork. Not exactly exciting or particularly cerebral. Peter Porteous does know his own limitations, and he is better suited to the life of a small town copper.
There's really nothing wrong with this book. The characters are well-drawn as is the setting, and the mystery does need to be unraveled. It's a very competent book, and that shows the brilliance of Ann Cleeves-- that a very "competent" book is nowhere near her best!
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