Sunday, October 9, 2016

A Rattling of Old Bones: Review

A Rattling of Old Bones (1982) by Jonathan Ross is the eight book in this police procedural series starring Detective Superintendent  George Rogers. Rogers is a solid and very human policeman who has a knack for brilliant and startling solutions to often baffling crimes. This time out he catches petty thief "Lying Willie" Blore in mid-burgle at a house in his neighborhood. He turns Willie in to the duty officers and heads home...but is called back later that night when Willie reveals that he had spotted something a bit odd on an earlier job.

Willie had broken into the abandoned rectory looking for any knick-knacks with which he could make a few easy bucks. He got more than he bargained for when he jimmied open an old linen closet and found the mummified remains of a woman. Everybody thought that the owner Judith Quint had left town five years ago. It looks like everybody was wrong. Rogers has a difficult case in front of him--he and one of his men had a run-in with Judith's estranged husband in an earlier case which will make it difficult to keep it professional. There were rumors that he had hit his wife. And digging up the past will dig up other painful memories--Judith was a woman who liked men and she had several lovers who might have had a reason to get rid of her as well. She even tried to add two of Britain's finest to her string...including George Rogers.

In addition to all the known men in her life, Judith had also managed to have a falling out with her sister. And there's the gardener who disappeared about the same time she did. And there's a woman who claims to have been Judith's friend, but Rogers thinks there's something a bit off there. There is something a bit off in the investigation...but it will take all of Rogers's brilliance to spot it this time. There's also a bit of disguise/misrepresentation going on that fits well with our Tuesday Night Bloggers theme for October...but I'm going to save that for my TNB post {plus...I don't want to spoil anything for anyone....}

This story shows Rogers at his best. He's struggling with his memories of Judith Quint and trying not to let the past interfere with his investigation. He shows as very human--nearly failing in his detective work because he's been too close to the victim. Jonathan Ross provides a very clever wrap-up. It's a plot twist that has been used before, but it's well done and not everyone will spot the trick. Overall, a very satisfying read. ★★★★


fredamans said...

Sounds like a great series. Can this be read as a stand alone or should I go back?

Tarissa said...

I'll take it! Sounds like a good mystery.