Author : A.J. Wright
Title : Sitting Murder
Series : Lancashire Detective #4
Pages : 282
Publisher : Endeavour Quill
Publication date : March 1, 2018
Detective Sergeant Michael Brennan of the Wigan Borough Police has no time for tales of ghosts and the afterlife, or of the dead contacting the living.
So, when he finds himself investigating the case of a recently widowed young woman, Alice Goodway, who has suddenly developed ‘the Gift’ of mediumship and has received a threatening letter, he embarks on the inquiry with no small degree of scepticism.
But just as Brennan and his burly colleague, Constable Jaggery, consider how to proceed with the case, something much more sinister takes place… a murder, in Alice’s own home.
Who would commit such a crime?
Could it be one of the seven ‘visitors’ who had been to sittings with Alice and not liked what they had heard? Or the interfering and sanctimonious Inspector of Nuisances who strongly disapproved of the séances?
There are a lot of old wounds opened and painful memories shared with Brennan and Jaggery as they meticulously gather the information they need to solve the case. The challenge will be narrowing down the suspects, using clues from both the living and the dead…
Before I start sharing my thoughts, can we all just take a minute to admire that absolutely stunning cover! I can tell you, it fits the story perfectly! Now, don’t be put off by the fact it says this is the fourth instalment in a series. It reads perfectly well as a stand-alone and at no point did I feel I was missing out on anything.
Recently widowed Alice Goodway receives a threatening letter. Alice seems to have the gift to communicate with the dearly departed and has been having “sittings” with various of her neighbours. Then someone turns up dead in Alice’s house. Is it a case of mistaken identity? Was Alice the intended victim? DS Brennan is convinced the murderer is one of the seven people that visited Alice. But who and why?
That is indeed the question and I couldn’t figure it out at all. I zeroed in on a particular character quite early on but was completely proven wrong. There is a rather long list of potential suspects and all of them have truly heartbreaking reasons for why they visit Alice and wish to connect once again with someone they’ve lost. That sense of loss and grief really came across and almost brought a lump to my throat.
Set in Victorian times, this whodunnit oozes atmosphere. It’s aptly gloomy, fabulously depicting the way people lived during that era, the treatment of women and the stigma that followed some around for the rest of their lives. From the proximity of neighbours and gas lamp lighters, to mining pits and mills, an Inspector of Nuisances (really?! 😄) and the inclusion of the local dialect, I had no problems whatsoever with feeling I was transported right back to the 1890’s.
Sitting Murder has a brilliant and clever plot. With red herrings all over the place, it left me guessing until the end. This is a thoroughly enjoyable historical cosy mystery with intriguing characters, wonderful descriptions and a captivating murder investigation. It has reminded me of how much I enjoy novels set in the Victorian era and I hope to one day have the time to catch up on the rest of this series.
My thanks to the publisher for the review copy!
Sitting Murder is available for purchase.