Posted 20 hours ago

Time of Death (Tom Thorne Novels)

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To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. The books here are primarily of the Historical Fiction or Science Fiction bent with some Thrillers and Crime thrown in - but there are happy exceptions. Helen and her partner DI Tom Thorne are on holiday when the news reports that a man has been arrested for the crimes, although no bodies have been found. It’s always good news to discover a new author and I will be following this series for sure as it continues. And it was not a “cosy mystery” – which I rarely like – and there was not much graphic violence – which I also don’t like.

This leaves Tom at a loose end and he just can’t resist carrying out his own investigation – a true busman’s holiday. Two schoolgirls are abducted in the small, dying Warwickshire town of Polesford, driving a knife into the heart of the community where police officer Helen Weeks grew up and from which she long ago escaped. However, I doubt that anyone new to Billingham would manage that as they probably wouldn't know where to look for clues. There is still an extremely clever and killer on the loose and a missing girl who Thorne believes might still be alive. Detectives Tom Thorne and Helen Weekes (his girlfriend) are holidaying in the Cotswolds when news comes through that the husband of an old friend of hers, Linda Bates, has been arrested on suspicion of the kidnap and murder of two young girls in the fictional towns of Dorbrook and Polesford in Warwickshire.This is the 13th book in Mark Billingham's series featuring his tough as old boots detective, Tom Thorne - I've not read the entire series but after really enjoying the previous book in the series, The Bones Beneath (review HERE) I felt the immediate need for more Thorne and so I started on Time of Death. Following directions, staying out of trouble and closing his bothersome mouth are just too hard for him. When two girls go missing in Helen's home town and the suspect is her friend's husband she insists on going to support the family - Thorne of course cannot resist getting involved in the investigation despite being very unwelcome. Linda has two teenage children, trapped in an unfamiliar house while their own is combed by the scenes of crime officers, the tension between them all is palpable especially as they are being ‘looked after’ by the police and gawped at by the press camped outside the door.

The investigation into the abduction of the missing girls is a fascinating story which contains its fair share of surprises, made all the more shocking by the fact that we witness events through the eyes of outsiders Thorne and Weeks. I will admit that initially I was not sure that having Thorne on the outside would work, but it did.As you read chapter after chapter you will keep asking your self again and again who do you believe. Good story line, probably helped in my head by the familiarity of most of the locations and experience of what they are like when they flood. Tom and Helen find themselves in a the small English town where Helen grew up in the middle of a kidnapping/murder investigation. This was an odd one - I have read most of the preceding DCI Thorne novels, and have (mainly) enjoyed them very much, but this felt a little less enjoyable than I remember the others.

Billingham has told us enough but not all of the details of this thread and leaves the reader wanting to know more. I do love crimes that are set in small communities, there is something very distinctive about the way they operate, with everyone knowing so much about each other’s lives, the suspicion of outsiders, the gossip and the protection and tolerance of their own, up to a point.But this one was great with lots of simultaneous stories to attract your attention from the mystery.

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