26 December 2010
Review: THE RING OF DEATH, Sally Spencer
2010 (originally published 2009)
Source: Local Library
The second in a new series featuring DCI Monika Paniatowski - Nothing could have prepared DCI Monika Paniatowski for this. It's not that the man's throat has been cut, or that he is naked, that shocks her - it's the way his corpse has been so carefully posed. Is the killer sending a message? If so, to who? Saddled with a colleague she doesn't trust, and watched by an old enemy, Monika realises that whatever the murderer's message is, he will not stop killing until she understands.
I found THE RING OF DEATH a real page turner and I do like the character of Monika Paniatowski.
I have never read any of the previous, Inspector Woodend, series, and I feel the need to at least delve into the last one or two in the series (there are 20 of them), and the first in the Monika Paniatowski series, THE DEAD HAND OF HISTORY, to find out more about Monika's rise to DCI, and to get a better acquainatnce with her. However there is plenty of background in THE RING OF DEATH. The novel deviates from just being a police procedural with an interesting exploration of how Monika is "making" herself, especially in her dealings with the Chief Constable, a one-time lover.
Her predecessor DCI Charlie Woodend, for whom she was "bagman", retired to Spain in the 20th novel in the Woodend series. There are references to how much he is missed in THE RING OF DEATH, and Monika constantly thinks of how Charlie would have handled this or that situation.
My rating: 4.5
Sally Spencer (31 novels) is a pseudonym of Alan Rustage (8 novels), who has also written 3 novels as James Garcia Woods.
Alan Rustage grew up in the north of England. He has taught in England and Iran. He now writes full-time and lives in Madrid.
Sally Spencer worked as a teacher both in England and Iran - where she witnessed the fall of the Shah. She now lives in Spain and writes full-time. She is an almost fanatical mah jong player.
See also http://www.sallyspencer.com/ and http://www.alanrustage.com/