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Saturday 14 March 2020

‘The Burial Circle’ by Kate Ellis

Published by Piatkus,
6 February 2020.
ISBN: 978-0-349-41830-8 (HB)

I was amazed to discover that this is the 24th book in the series featuring DI Wesley Peterson, and they just get better and better.  In this story, following a storm, a tree has been uprooted on a Devon farm revealing in its roots a human skeleton along with a rucksack which brings to Wesley’s mind the investigation twelve years previously of a missing young hitchhiker who was last seen in the area with a rucksack.  A cold case is now a murder investigation.

As Wesley starts tracing and interviewing the people that were around at the time the hitchhiker went missing, just a few miles away from Tradmouth in Petherham is Mill House, a Georgian property which has been turned into an upmarket B&B. The owners have engaged the services of psychic Damien Lee to run a psychic weekend.  As the story progresses it becomes apparent that there are possibly more oddities amongst the attending delegates than the paranormal can compete with. Then there is a murder.

Running alongside of Wesley’s investigation are extracts from the notebook of Dr Christopher Cruckshank written in the 1880’s, mainly concerning an organisation set up to help poorer people with funeral costs called the Burial Circle.  It was a good thing it existed as there seems to have been a high number of mysterious deaths, or maybe not a good thing?

With wonderful characterisation and two intriguing cases to follow this is a twisty well-plotted tale that will keep you turning the pages. It is both fascinating and satisfying as the threads are skilfully drawn together

Long term followers of this highly acclaimed series will be pleased to learn that DS Rachel Tracey has finally tied the knot with her farmer Nigel Haynes.  Of course, also in evidence is Wesley’s university friend archaeologist Neil whose love life never seems to get properly off the ground.  And Wesley’s boss DCI Gerry Heffernan, he of the crocodile smile, who to Wesley’s dismay has started talking about retirement.

Most highly recommended.
Reviewer: Lizzie Sirett

Kate Ellis was born in Liverpool and she studied drama in Manchester. She worked in teaching, marketing and accountancy before first enjoying writing success as a winner of the North-West Playwrights competition. Crime and mystery stories have always fascinated her, as have medieval history and archaeology which she likes to incorporate in her books. She is married with two grown up sons and she lives in North Cheshire, England, with her husband.
Kate's novels feature archaeology graduate Detective Sergeant Wesley Peterson who fights crime in South Devon.  Each story combines an intriguing contemporary murder mystery with a parallel historical case. She has also written five books in the spooky Joe Plantagenet series set up in North Yorkshire as well as many short stories for crime fiction anthologies and magazines. Kate was elected a member of The Detection Club in 2014. She is a member of the Crime Writers Association and Murder Squad, and Mystery People.
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