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Books 200-201: The Shadow Collector and Autumn Killing

Book 200: The Shadow Collector (Wesley Peterson #17).
Author: Kate Ellis, 2013.
Genre: Police Procedural. Historical Mystery. Witchcraft/Wicca.
Other Details: Hardback. 368 pages.

Lilith Benley and her mother, rumoured to be witches, were convicted of the brutal murder of two teenage girls. Eighteen years later Lilith is released from prison, and shortly after she returns to her old home, a young woman is found dead at a neighbouring farm where a celebrity reality TV show is being filmed. When DI Wesley Peterson is called in to investigate he has to deal with fragile egos and hidden truths, as well as the possibility that Lilith Benley has killed again. Meanwhile archaeologist, Neil Watson discovers a gruesome wax doll at a house that once belonged to a woman hanged for witchcraft in the seventeenth century. And when Neil has a near fatal accident, some suspect a supernatural connection. - synopsis from UK publisher's website.

This was another excellent police procedural in this series that kept me guessing as to 'whodunit' until the final pages. It was very hard to put down. I also felt that Kate Ellis portrayed both witchcraft and Wicca sensitively, which is always a plus when these themes appear in popular fiction.

I was a little confused about the relationship status of D.S. Rachel Tracey when it was mentioned that she was preparing for her wedding as I didn't recall any engagement in Book #16. I emailed Kate Ellis and she was kind enough to confirm that some time had passed between novels and that the engagement had taken place in this in-between. Rachel is one of my favourite characters in the series and I remain uncertain about whether this is the right move for her. Yet that is one of the many things I love about Ellis' writing: I feel I know these characters and care about the ups and downs of their lives.

I have now reached the end of the series to date so shall be reading the new ones as they are published.

Book 201: Autumn Killing (Malin Fors #3).
Author: Mons Kallentoft, 2009. Translated from the Swedish by Neil Smith, 2012.
Genre: Police Procedural. Nordic Noir. Euro Crime.
Other Details: Paperback. 503 pages.

The season now is Autumn and the brutally stabbed body of internet billionaire Jerry Person is found floating face down in the moat surrounding the castle he has recently purchased. There are plenty of suspects yet following the events of Summertime Death Detective Malin Fors is finding it hard to keep her life together and apply herself to the investigation.

I appreciate the risks that Mons Kallentoft takes in this series including having commentary provided by the corporally-challenged. Indeed, there were a couple of times here when they seemed to be getting through to Malin rather than just floating about and providing no clues to the identity of the murderer.

What I did find difficult in this third in the seasonally-themed series was that Malin was so broken; drinking too much and not admitting that she has a problem. It is very realistic in terms of how people can deny addiction and it caused some uncomfortable memories to surface.

Note: Wow! I've never managed 200 books in a year before and here I am with two months to go hitting that milestone.
Tags: historical mysteries, murder mystery, police drama, translation
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