An avid reader, Stephen's knowledge of Crime Fiction is fairly extensive, with The Golden Age is his greatest interest.
Set in the English Cotswolds countryside, with few wordy elaborately described landscapes and chocolate-box cottages to distract the reader from the plot, this is a good read.
This book begins with a body being carried along by the swirling waters of a swollen river. The body when found is that of a waitress from the local gastropub. Investigations centre around the village's writers group who were at the pub on the night the waitress was last seen. The group is a colourful mix of characters allowing the writer free reign on their personalities and psychologies.
The case travels at a fairly gentle pace that unfolds cleverly as the reader is drawn evermore into the investigation. Then it emerges that the victim's father is a convicted violent criminal who is due to be released from his latest sentence any day. His intention to do his own investigation to find who killed his "princess" adds to the tension felt by the suspects. Two of whom, boyfriends past and present, certainly should be worried. Physical and psychological menace created by the introduction of this character changes the atmosphere significantly. The eventual finding of the vital clue speeds the detection to a surprising conclusion.
Ann Granger deftly draws her characters with an experienced eye. They are at once life-like because they could so easily be people we know. Her village is populated with the types and forms of humankind that we can easily identify.
The writing is a flowing easily read style that fits the story, setting and plot so well. I had not come across the Campbell and Carter duo before, but I think the pair worked quite well. With this case successfully completed the Campbell and Carter partnership looks set to prosper in a professional capacity at least. Whether their personal relationship moves on from merely friendly colleagues we will have to wait and see.