A line of eight cars is trapped in a blizzard on a Norfolk coast road in the intriguingly named Siberia Belt between Cromer and King's Lynn. They've been diverted into this by-road by an AA road works sign that mysteriously disappears. The passage of the truck at the head of the line is blocked by a fallen tree, showing all the signs of having been deliberately chopped down. And three hours after the blizzard began Harvey Ellis, the driver of the truck, is dead. And no-one saw anything. But Harvey Ellis has been murdered.
Two bodies are separately found at low tide in the coastal cockle pits. As these bodies are identified DI Peter Shaw and DS George Valentine discover they have connections with people in the line of stranded cars.
Jim Kelly is an established author with 5 novels already under the belt (the Philip Dryden series), and in 2006 he won the 2006 CWA Dagger in the Library for the series. DEATH WORE WHITE is the beginning of a new series, with a second title promised for 2010.
Not only has Kelly created an interesting puzzle in DEATH WORE WHITE - who kills Harvey Ellis if no-one saw anything - but he has created a fascinating new detective duo in Shaw and Valentine. These two already have a history. Valentine worked with Shaw's father Jack, on a case which spelled the end of Jack Shaw's career, and saw Valentine demoted. Peter Shaw comes into the series already fully fledged as it were - the new style of detective, careful, determined not to make his father's mistakes, but an artist who can draw his own identikit pictures, and a boatie with a hovercraft licence.
You've probably detected that I found this a very enjoyable read, and I'll certainly now try to get hold of the Philip Dryden titles, as well as look out for the next in the Shaw and Valentine series: DEATH WATCH.
My rating: 4.9
Lists courtesy Fantastic Fiction:
1. The Water Clock (2002)
2. The Fire Baby (2004)
3. The Moon Tunnel (2005)
4. The Coldest Blood (2006)
5. The Skeleton Man (2007)
DI Peter Shaw and DS George Valentine
2. Death Watch (2010)
Other Reviews to check: