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Wednesday 16 February 2022

‘Death by the Thames’ by Gretta Mulrooney

Published by Joffe Books.
22 December 2021.
ISBN: 978-1-80405-027-9 (PB)

Death by the Thames is Getta Mulrooney’s ninth book about the private investigator, Tyrone (Ty) Swift. As with her other books it zips along at a good pace, contains a myriad of different characters – some of whom like his lodger Chand, and cousins Mary and Faith appear in previous books – and succeeds in leading you down a variety of paths that you don’t really need to travel along. In this story, Ty is at a loose end because he has yet to replace his previous girlfriend and he is getting used to the idea that Ruth – the woman with whom he shares his feisty little daughter, Branna - is about to marry and move and to Guernsey, He has his eye on a police inspector in Wales, but Wales is a long way from London where he lives and works.

A client, Toni Sheringham asks Ty to look into an intriguing mystery. Why, on the night before he was due to get married, did Sam Goddard, Toni’s seemingly loyal, straightforward, and kind fiancée, drive his beloved motorbike into the Thames and drown himself along with a fifteen-year-old girl, Naomi Ludlow, whom none of them had ever heard of? The police had decided the deaths must have been a suicide pact: a conclusion supported by the short, “I’m sorry” text Sam had sent Toni. As Ty grapples with his work, his home life is complicated by the arrival Eli, an old friend from their days together in the police force. Eli is broke, homeless, jet-lagged, hungry and generally very good at causing chaos.

When Ty investigates, everybody at Spring, the financial management company Sam worked for, from the director, Jerome Adcott and the head of administration, Araminta Leadsom, down to Sam’s best friend, Conor Wallace, along with Toni’s friends, Lucy and Lexi all tell Ty that he’s wasting his time and should accept the polices’ verdict. But then cracks appear. According to Naomi’s brother, Dean Ludlow, Naomi was a calculating, manipulative, selfish and spiteful girl who liked causing trouble. What was her link with Sam? Ty visits Sam’s first wife, Mila, and learns Sam had an elder brother that fiancée Toni didn’t know existed. Then he visit’s Sam’s empty house and discovers a link between Conor and Mila. More surprising links appear.  But instead of clarifying what has gone on, they only tend to obfuscate it.

In the end Ty works it all out and lives to investigate another case.  Light entertainment is provided by Branna who provides a breadth of fresh air, and Eli who offers unwanted diversions with consummate ease - though to give him his due, he does actually deliver a small amount of (paid) help for Ty. Overall, another easy-reading and entertaining story from Gretta Mulrooney.

Reviewer Angela Crowther.

Gretta Mulrooney was born in London, of Irish parents. She studied for a degree in English Literature at the University of Ulster and subsequently worked in education and social care.  Gretta has written seven books in her series featuring Private investigator Tyrone Swift. Her most recent boom is These Little Lies, the first in a new police-based crime series, featuring DI Siv Drummond.

Angela Crowther is a retired scientist.  She has published many scientific papers but, as yet, no crime fiction.  In her spare time Angela belongs to a Handbell Ringing group, goes country dancing and enjoys listening to music, particularly the operas of Verdi and Wagner.


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