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Book 118-119: The Plague Maiden and A Cursed Inheritance by Kate Ellis

Book 118: A Plague Maiden (Wesley Peterson #8).
Author: Kate Ellis, 2004.
Genre: Police Procedural. Archaeology. Murder Mystery.
Other Details: Paperback. 362 pages.

When a letter arrives at Tradmouth police station claiming that the man convicted of murdering the Vicar of Belsham during the course of a robbery in 1991 is innocent, it causes quite a stir. DI Wesley Peterson, however, already has his hands full when threats are made to local supermarket chain, Huntings, and the last thing he needs is an alleged miscarriage of justice to investigate. But, with political pressure from above, it seems that he has no choice. Meanwhile archaeologist Neil Watson is surprised to uncover a medieval plague pit at a site near Belsham church earmarked for Huntings' new superstore. And when Neil is attacked, it seems that someone is willing to use violence to ensure that the plague pit keeps its secrets. As Wesley's investigations continue, he begins to suspect that the vicar's murder, the disappearance of a former Sunday school teacher and the threats to the supermarket my be linked in some way. Then comes the disturbing discovery that the ancient plague pit is home to a more recent resident... - synopsis from author's website.

I feel that this was one of the best of the series so far. Again, there was a cluster of crimes, some modern and others a few years ago along with the historical element, that all come to a head during the course of the novel. It was well-paced with a strong archaeological theme of the Great Plague of 1348. There is also an undercurrent of sexual tension involving certain characters which is proving quite addictive, something I expect Ellis is very aware of. Even if nothing ever happens this element still has me hooked to see how things either work out or not.

I am still not a fan of Pam, Wesley's wife, but then partners of police officers who constantly moan about the hours and their partner's commitment to their work always irritates me.

Book 119: A Cursed Inheritance (Wesley Peterson #9.
Author: Kate Ellis, 2005.
Genre: Police Procedural. Archaeology. Murder Mystery.
Other Details: Paperback. 361 pages.

The brutal massacre of the Harford family at Potwoolstan Hall in Devon in 1985 shocked the country and passed into local folklore. And when a journalist researching the case is murdered twenty years later, the horror is reawakened. Sixteenth century Potwoolstan Hall, now a New Age healing centre, is reputed to be cursed because of the crimes of its builder, and it seems that this inheritance of evil lives on as DI Wesley Peterson is faced with his most disturbing case yet. As more people die violently, Wesley needs to discover why a young woman has transformed a dolls house into a miniature reconstruction of the massacre scene. And could the solution to his case lie across the Atlantic Ocean, in the ruined remains of an early English settlement in Virginia USA? - synopsis from author's website.

Well they certainly stacked up the body count in this one! I found it almost impossible to put it down, which for me is the hallmark of a strong murder mystery. In this one Neil Watson, Wesley's long-time friend, did spend a good portion of the novel on a dig in Virginia, USA, which gave Ellis the opportunity to incorporate details of the early 17th Century settlements there. Again one of the best of the series to date. I can hardly wait to get my paws on the next in this addictive series.
Tags: crime fiction, police drama
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