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Monday, 14 March 2022

‘The Plague Maiden’ by Kate Ellis

Published by Piatkus,
29 January 2004.
ISBN 0-7499-0668-5 (HB)

Devon’s most diplomatic policeman, DI Wesley Peterson, is back, together with his boss Gerry Heffernan in the latest instalment of Kate Ellis’s renowned archaeological series.

A recently murdered skeleton is found on top of a pile of Medieval plague victims on a site being cleared for the building of a new supermarket.

The supermarket chain has problems of its own when someone starts putting poison into jars of food on the shelves.

Meanwhile, a woman comes forward to give a cast-iron alibi to a man who is serving time for a murder committed twelve years ago, giving rise to possible claims of police corruption.

Naturally, in the skilled hands of Kate Ellis, all these cases dovetail together with great skill keeping the reader in suspense right until the final surprise ending.

The interchanges between the stock cast of police officers is totally believable and the Devon setting a perfect background.

For devotees of this long running series, Wesley is still lumbered with his irritating wife who’d be better off with Neil, his scruffy pit-digging pal from his student days.  I am still waiting for his colleague DS Rachel Tracey to have her wicked way with him.  It’s taking her a mighty long time, but I suppose that is the hook to keep us waiting eagerly for the next instalment.
Reviewer: Ron Ellis

Earlier books in the series are
The Merchant's House, The Armada Boy, An Unhallowed Grave, The Funeral Boat, The Bone Garden, A Painted Doom and The Skeleton Room

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, Murder Squad, and Mystery People. Her most recent series is set post WW1.

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