[A different narrator, considering a different aspect of the investigation]
Would Kim know the meaning of her clothing, Davy wonders, in the way Manon would? Not the clothing sent to forensics – well those, yes, as well – but her clothing in general: the colours, the price bracket, the shop they came from. These were all markers that Manon could ‘read’. He’s not sure Kim is feminine in that way. Oh Lord, is he being sexist? Not feminine then; judgemental, Manon was master of the snap judgement, which often contained a kernel of truth.
commentary: My friend Kathy Durkin, Kathy D in her comments, put me onto this author: she recommended the 2016 Missing, Presumed, and when I read it I could quite see why: it could have been just another police procedural about a girl who has disappeared (and there are plenty of them around) but it was so much more. And DI Manon Bradshaw is an excellent lead character.
In this one she has made considerable changes in her life since the end of the previous book, and is pregnant, and operating in Cold Cases in Huntingdon. A rich London banker visits the town and is murdered: Manon’s adopted son seems to be a vital witness – or something more?
It is a nasty and complicated story, and contains many features that sometimes concern me: multiple POVs, some first person and some third, use of the present tense, and a lot of detail about personal lives and relationships of the series characters. But I loved the book, raced through it, enjoying every moment of the complex investigation, Manon’s sometimes foolish moves, and the fears and mysteries in her own home.
The narrator of the top excerpt, Birdy, who owns the Payless Drink store, is a tour de force, I absolutely loved her:
We’ve all got our thing, haven’t we? I’m quite safe around a bottle of Chardonnay, I’ve been known to yawn in the face of pornography. Show me a shoe shop and I can walk on by. But salty snacks? I will MOW. YOU. DOWN.And the sections with Davy, the young policeman, were also beautifully and sympathetically done.
The book is also funny. I like the woman who doesn’t want to move because ‘I’ve got a group of mums I feel comfortably ambivalent about, right here’.
And the young woman who is ‘maybe not supermodel beautiful, but she could definitely get paid to do a catalogue or the Marks & Sparks website.’
And Manon claiming to hate Saul Bellow: so what did she read by him?
‘Dunno, something with “Rabbit” in the title. Man it was boring.’I think we’ve all been there.
‘D’you mean Rabbit, Run?’
‘By John Updike?’
‘So have you ever read anything by Saul Bellow?’
‘I don’t think so, no.’
So – a most enjoyable book, with excellent characters, and every hope for a long series about Manon Bradshaw. And hat-tip again to Kathy for the recommendation.