COVER UP by Patricia Hall
It’s been years since I’ve read a mystery by this author so I was pleased to see this new publication. I was a faithful reader of Hall’s Laura Ackroyd/DCI Michael Thackery series so it was interesting to read Cover Up, the sixth mystery in her Kate O’Donnell series.
It’s 1964 and Kate has been given a magazine assignment in Liverpool to showcase the many changes that the city has undergone since the war. Her feature is to coincide with the release of the Beatles’ movie “A Hard Day’s Night”. The city is teeming with reporters and fans, anxious to get a glimpse of this musical foursome.
Meanwhile, Kate’s partner, DS Harry Barnard, has been investigating the murder of a woman whose body was found in Soho days earlier. Finding her identity is proving very difficult and Harry is determined to investigate the death in spite of his DCI’s request that he drop it.
As Harry carries out his investigations in London and Kate digs deeper into the regeneration of Liverpool, they both find evidence of cover-ups and corruption, leading them into dangerous situations.
The Peculiar Crimes Unit is called in to investigate the murder of a woman whose body was found in a private garden. She’s been strangled but her body is lovingly positioned. Before the body is even cold, another murder takes place – another woman, in a park, with her body positioned.
With these two murders, the Unit pulls out all the stops to find the killer. Fowler takes us on a wild ride around London, with Arthur Bryant in the driver’s seat as we are treated to a delicious history of its green spaces. Little by little, Arthur puts together the pieces of the puzzle, relying on his great wealth of the arcane and the help of his retinue of strange acquaintances.
This is such a clever, brilliant novel, ripe with British humour that you can’t help but laugh as you turn page after page. Fowler is a master of wordplay and this novel doesn’t disappoint. The characters are funny and colorful and as he builds up the suspense, we are almost holding our breath. Once you start reading this book, you won’t want to put it down until you’ve reached the last page. That’s what happened to me!