Murder on the Marsh by Anne Penketh
Available from Amazon UK US AU CA
A BOY’S BODY IS FOUND IN A CHURCHYARD. HIS HEART HAS BEEN CUT OUT . . .
DI Sam Clayton has never dealt with such an extreme crime in the quiet Norfolk villages that are part of his patch. When a waitress, Emma Dawson, disappears, it looks like the police might have a serial killer on their hands. Emma seems to have been part of cultish group obsessed with contacting the dead via a medieval mystic. But a mysterious Frenchman and one of the local nature wardens are also suspects. The mystery is further complicated by the locals’ reluctance to share their secrets with the police. DI Clayton’s team also harbour some tragic secrets and it looks like only one of his detectives will be kept on, even if they do catch the vicious killer.
When another child disappears, DI Clayton faces a race against time to prevent any further crimes. Not only that, but he must confront local superstitions and keep his team under control as violence threatens to spiral out of control.
MURDER ON THE MARSH is the first in a new series of page-turning crime thrillers set in an atmospheric part of Norfolk.
Detective Inspector Sam Clayton leads the investigation into the North Norfolk murders, joined the police straight from school as a beat bobby in Manchester before rising through the ranks of the CID. He was transferred to Norwich after being promoted to DI following a high-profile case investigated by Lancashire Constabulary. He struggles with anger issues and finds solace in playing classical guitar. He lives in hope of a reconciliation with his ex-wife, Claire.
Detective Sergeant Neil Pringle lives with his third wife in Norwich, where he was born. But taking care of his two sons with his wife Megan, and two other children with previous wives, has put his finances under strain. He never misses a chance to shine in hopes of securing promotion, and can’t help showing off his local knowledge to colleagues.
Detective Sergeant Julie Everett is an intuitive officer who was promoted to detective sergeant from her home town of Ipswich where she had a background in child protection. She is discreet about her personal life among colleagues, particularly about the tragedy which haunts her, but is stressed out because of her work-life balance. She has to deal with a high-pressure job while raising a six-year-old child who moved with her to Norwich.
The mists sweep across the Glaveny marsh and its muddy channels on the North Norfolk coast, where the reeds rustle and the waist-high grasses whisper in the wind. It is a place, frequented by dog walkers and birdwatchers, where myth and reality collide. Locals talk about a hell hound that roams the marsh in the mist, bringing death in its wake. A medieval mystic who wrote about sin, Mother Julian of Norwich, may have had a connection to the villages dotted with fishermen’s flint cottages. Standing beside the majestic white sails of the windmill in the neighbouring village of Pelham on a clear day you can look over the marsh towards the seal colony on Glaveny Point. As you approach them you can hear the seals and their pups moaning on the shingle. The sound is almost human, like a mermaid’s siren call. When the mist rolls in, it is blindingly thick in minutes. When it retreats, who knows what will be left behind?
ALSO BY ANNE PENKETH
DI SAM CLAYTON SERIES
Book 1: MURDER ON THE MARSH
Book 2: THE BAD SISTER
Book 3: PLAY DEAD
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I read and loved Bad Sister and Play Dead so I was very happy to have found time to read the first in this brilliant series.
Something strange is afoot in Norfolk. A dead child with his heart missing and then the body of a young woman is found. The cases are so different they cannot be linked. Can they? Sam has his work cut out. He has recently moved to the area and his marriage has fallen apart and now he has a team that isn’t gelling together. To add to his problems he is at risk of losing one of them due to budget cuts.
As the investigation continues the team find the way forward lies with a traumatised young boy the problem is he is temporarily mute. The pressure to crack the case is relentless and there are a lot of false leads. As the team delve in to Emma’s past they discover the shocking truth about her life and beliefs.
This is a gripping first in series as we get to know the characters. There is plenty of suspense to keep the pages turning and I really enjoyed the intricate tangled web of a story. A brilliant read that is perfect for crime fiction lovers.