Amy Myers is known for her short stories and historical novels featuring Victorian chef Auguste Didier and chimney sweep Tom Wasp. Her contemporary series features classic car detective Jack Colby, and she is currently working on a new 1920s mystery series featuring Nell Drury, chef at Kent’s Wychbourne Court.
When the burnt body of Elaine Buxton is found on a Scottish mountain, the police identify her with ease thanks to the victim’s teeth – or so they believe. But that’s what they were meant to think.
The real Elaine Buxton is still suffering under the maniacal treatment of the murderer, and it isn’t long before he strikes again. It takes a dogged investigation by Detective Inspector Luc Callanach [who has only just been posted to Police Scotland], to reach the horrific truth. Side by side with the pursuit; the reader also follows the thoughts and deeds of a merciless killer, who appears to be leading the life of a medical professional.
The author is a former criminal [and family] lawyer who has since changed her career to film production and script writing; so it is little surprise that the novel is well constructed, running the investigator and murderer’s stories concurrently in terms of narrative style. The result of using this approach however is that while the sleuth is actively pursuing his quarry throughout, the murderer must either keep his story going by mulling over his crimes, or by continuing them. This novel takes the latter course which in Perfect Remains is one of torture, violence and murder. The visceral elements become somewhat repetitious resulting in the pace being slow to build. I found it difficult to identify with the characters, perhaps because the focus is on what’s going on in the concealed room at the killer’s home, rather than upon the protagonist[s] and antagonist[s] of this novel. Though, towards the climax the pace quickens considerably, and rounds the story off satisfactorily; and in readiness for a follow-up.