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River Deep (Martha Gunn, Bk 1)
River Deep - Martha Gunn, Bk 1
Author: Priscilla Masters
Life in Shrewsbury is normally calm and uneventful. However, when the River Severn bursts its banks, a body is discovered floating in a flooded cottage. Coroner Martha Gunn is one of the first to be called to the scene. In the fetid cottage Martha’s instincts tell her that this is a homicide -- a hunch borne out by the post mortem. — The vi...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780749083427
ISBN-10: 0749083425
Publication Date: 6/1/2005
Pages: 265
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.

3.8 stars, based on 11 ratings
Publisher: Allison & Busby
Book Type: Paperback
Members Wishing: 1
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reviewed River Deep (Martha Gunn, Bk 1) on + 24 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
The first in the Martha Gunn series, in which she is a very inquisitive coroner in England along the Wales border. Masters does a great job with the setting along the River Severn in Shrewsbury, helping me escape completely into the book. The characterization is terrific, and Martha Gunn is a very appealing sleuth. She's a widow of nearly 10 years, raising her twins with the help of a Swedish au pair. Throughout the book, she is very human, dealing with personal issues and relationships, as she tries to solve, from the sidelines, a confusing series of murders that are unearthed by the flooding river. As a coroner she has a reason to be involved and a connection with the police, but she goes beyond her official role because of her curiosity. There is a thread of the story that is not resolved, and perhaps that is so that it can continue throughout the series. But since I wanted it resolved, that's what keeps this a 4.5 and not a 5. Loved the book, and am anxiously awaiting the arrival of the next in the series, "Slipknot."
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reviewed River Deep (Martha Gunn, Bk 1) on + 1828 more book reviews
First Line: Nature is a free spirit.

The River Severn is in full flood, and sections of the ancient city of Shrewsbury-- home of the venerable fictional sleuth Brother Cadfael-- are cut off from the rest of the world. When the rising waters flood the basement of a riverside cottage causing a corpse to be discovered, Coroner Martha Gunn is among the first to be called to the scene.

When the post mortem proves that Gunn was correct in thinking the man's death was a homicide, the next hurdle is identifying him-- which proves much trickier than anyone anticipated.

Widow Martha Gunn often feels like an outsider when faced with the bond her twins, Sam and Sukey, share. As coroner, her hours can fluctuate, so she has a Swedish au pair to help her keep their home and routines running smoothly.

Coroners are not supposed to investigate a case, but this one is so baffling that Martha can't help but do some very surreptitious sleuthing. I liked watching Martha uncover information and then subtly work the police and the pathologist to look at the case from a different perspective in order for them to stumble over the clues, too.

Masters packs strength after strength into this book. From the atmospheric city of Shrewsbury battling a raging river, to a plot that twists and turns around a dead man's identity, to a strong-willed main character. The only flaw that bothered me was the fact that Martha Gunn is the Empress of All Characters-- all the rest paled into insignificance around her-- with the amusing exception of her daughter Sukey and Agnetha the Swedish au pair who had an obsession with the rock group ABBA.

After such a strong start to a series, I'm looking forward to reading more of Martha Gunn's investigations.