I’m an avid reader and have been for as long as I can remember. Partly that’s because I grew up in a house of readers. My Dad always settled down with a book when he got home from work, it was his primary way of relaxing. My mother didn’t read so much for pleasure; but she was often there with a magazine, a book of recipes, or materials for Sunday School that she was studying.
Going to the library was a weekly treat. It didn’t matter that we didn’t have lots of money to spend on books since all we needed was a trip to the local branch of our library and it felt as if we had the written world at our fingertips. I remember those trips as being some of my favorites, right up there with the short visits we would make on Sunday afternoons that almost always ended with getting an ice cream cone at the local soda shop.
My favorite books were mysteries, probably because those are what my dad read. I quickly devoured all the young adult mysteries, so I moved on to Agatha Christie when I was in third grade. When there wasn’t an Agatha Christie available for me to check out, I would get a Rex Stout. These were my two favorite authors, and I often re-read books if I couldn’t find one that was new to me.
As I got older my interest in books, and especially mysteries, continued, and I would seek out all the Agatha Christie or Rex Stout books I could find. After I had read and re-read, sometimes for three or four times, these books, I was at a loss as to what to do. I was convinced there would never be another author that could interest me quite like either of these two.
Happily, I was wrong. After much work, and reading lots of things that didn’t quite measure up, I stumbled across a couple of authors whose books were in the same class as far as I was concerned. Louise Penny and her Inspector Gamache series was one such book, and Julia Spencer-Fleming with her Russ Alstyn/Claire Fergusson books was another. I blew through both series quickly, and then was at another pause. There were books I read and enjoyed, but still I wanted something that was “just a little more”.
Then I discovered Faith Martin. She has several series, including her most famous which features Hillary Greene; but the one I’m currently enjoying it the series featuring WPC Trudy Loveday and Coroner Clement Ryder. It’s a series that takes place in the ’80’s, and Martin does an excellent job of coloring it with a blush of social structure of the time period. The mysteries are top notch, and the pacing is always just right so that I never get bored before I reach the end. Even when I figure out “who done it”, I’m still engaged in the book because the writing is so excellent.
The latest book in this series is A Fatal Truth and it was released for publication this week. Now my biggest frustration is having to wait for the next one in the series. Here’s my review in case your interested.
The fifth in the Ryder and Loveday series, this one was worth the wait. The plotting is excellent, the storyline of Dr. Ryder’s struggle with Parkinson’s deepens in a logical way, and Trudy matures a bit. All these combine to make this an excellent addition to an interesting series that highlights policing in the 1960’s. The period is accurately depicted without rancor, so that the end result for many readers is more likely to be a thought that it’s good to see how we’ve progressed in terms of accepting women on the police force as well as allowing them more independence in general.
Trudy is assigned the task of re-investigating a death ruled a suicide when a reporter writes an article indicating the police got it wrong. DI Jennings, Trudy’s chauvinistic supervisor, decides this is a great case to assign Trudy as he is convinced there is nothing to the allegations and the necessary follow-up will be a waste of time. Trudy, who is still trying to recover from a near-disaster on her last case, reluctantly accepts the assignment and the prospect of once again working with Dr. Ryder.
As the case progresses, Trudy’s confidence and her skill as an investigator increase and she begins to rely more on herself and less on Dr. Ryder. The experience helps her conquer her fears associated with the previous case and develop a stronger self-confidence which is seen as a positive result by both Trudy and Dr. Ryder. Still, she has some stumbles and Dr. Ryder steps in to ensure she isn’t led astray by the reporter in his zeal to further his desires regarding the outcome of the case.
The pacing of the novel is excellent, as is the norm in most Faith Martin novels, and the ending is satisfying on both the case level and Trudy’s maturity level. There are still issues revolving around Dr. Ryder’s health. Martin does not fall into the trap of an annoying cliff-hanger here, but rather leaves it vague enough to satisfy most readers and not affect their enjoyment of this mystery. Most fans of the series can expect to be satisfied and at the same time waiting impatiently for the next book.
While this novel, as others in the series, is a stand-alone mystery; it is highly recommended the reader start with the first novel and progress in order through the series. Both primary characters, Trudy and Dr. Ryder grow throughout the series and being privy to this growth enhances the reader’s enjoyment. The biggest frustration for most readers is likely to be having to wait for the next book. My thanks to H O Digital/Harper Collins and NetGalley for providing me with an advanced digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Hopefully I’ve piqued your interest if you were looking for a new series. Do yourself a favor, start with the first book and read them in order. I envy the fact you won’t have to wait to move from one book to the next, at least for a little while. Now I’ve got to go see what I can find to read. Enjoy and Happy Reading.