Monday, April 11, 2011

Burial Deferred: Review

In Burial Deferred, a police procedural by Jonathan Ross, we have Detective Superintendant George Rogers waking up in hospital with two goose eggs on the back of his head, stitches in the top of it, and no memory of the last twenty-four hours. Admitted to the hospital as a victim of an automobile accident, it soon becomes apparent that someone definitely wanted Rogers out of the way. But why? What did he do or see in those missing hours that made it imperative to do away with him?

Ignoring his doctor's advice for bedrest, Rogers discharges himself from the hospital and directs the inquiries into his own attempted murder. Investigations in the area where his wrecked car was found lead him to the nearby woods where he finds a shallow, but empty grave. He becomes drawn to the baroque Victorian house on a steep cliff overlooking the sea and the woods. He questions Phaedra Haggar, a serene blind woman, and her paying guests. But nobody admits to hearing anything out of the ordinary on the night in question. Now he knows that they are most likely looking for a body, but where will it be found? It isn't long before a young woman's body is brought out of the sea....but she hasn't been drowned. She has been shot in the face with a shotgun.

Rogers and his force have to make their way through the lies told by the guests and discover how and why the body was left to lie for hours and then stood up. She was apparently shot while lying down, but there is no evidence of a shooting in any of the bedrooms. And why did no one hear the shot? Making the case more difficult, one of her fellow guests has gone missing as well. At first it was assumed that the young couple had run away together. But now that she's been found, where is Michael? Did he kill her and run?

It isn't easy for Rogers to answer these questions while still trying answer his own. What happened in those missing hours and how important are those answers to the case at hand? Rogers is even more human and vunerable in this outing than in most. As he pushes his ailing body and taxes his delinquent memory, he feels that he is failing the young woman whose death he means to avenge. Added to his dilemma is the attraction he feels for Phaedra and the fear that it will hinder his objectivity.

Ross writes a very good police procedural. Good plotting and a well-rounded cast of supporting charcters. Overall, a solid mystery. Three and a half stars.

1 comment:

Yvette said...

Yea! You're the only person besides me who's ever heard of the George Rogers books or ever read one...I think. Little by little, we'll turn this thing around. Ha! Poor Rogers is always attracted to whatever woman happens to be involved in the case. :)