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A long derelict World War II bomb site is about to be re-developed in Berebury. The workmen digging foundations uncover a skeleton which necessitates the involvement of Inspector Sloan and DC Crosby. It may or may not be a victim of the bombing but when the post mortem uncovers a bullet they realise they have a murder case on their hands.
At first it seems that their best efforts are not going to be rewarded with any degree of success but then the local doctor is attacked returning from a night call and then one of the people interviewed by Sloan and Crosby is found dead in the same place as the skeleton.
This is an interesting story in which events from the past are reflected in the present. The story is well plotted with believable characters and some entertaining dialogue. The relationship between Sloan and Crosby is as ever uneasy but Crosby occasionally comes up with some good ideas which cause his superior to stop and think.
This is the second Inspector Sloan book that I have read. The first was very good, hence me reading this one. This story seems confused, obsessed with stories of the war and its effect on the residents of the town. I still have no idea how he worked out who the killer was or why he did it. A very unsatisfactory story.
It’s a well written book with enough parallel plot to maintain interest. The red herrings are well distributed and the characters are a nice mix of sympathetic and nasty. My only reservation is that it ravels up too quickly. I would have preferred a clearer denouement.
This book is the 4th in CWA Diamond Dagger winner Catherine Aird's 'Inspector C. D. Sloan' series, and was originally published in 1971. My husband and I both enjoyed these ingenious British mysteries starring Inspector C.D. Sloan and his clueless side-kick, Detective-Constable Crosby, and I was happy to see them come out on Kindle so I could read them all over again.
The procedurals are set in the fictional County of Calleshire, England which very much resembles the County of Kent where Catherine Aird (the pseudonym of novelist Kinn Hamilton McIntosh) lives.
Young Doctor Latimer takes over the practice of the late Henry Tarde in a section of Berebury that was heavily bombed by the Nazis. Now, after over a quarter of a century, the ruins across the street from his new office are finally being excavated to make way for a new office building. Doctor Latimer is fascinated by the work going on across the street, especially when he is called over to examine a skeleton in the crater of the bomb site.
While it's not unusual to find human remains left over from the WWII air raids, this particular skeleton of a pregnant teen ager has a bullet in her spine.
Can Inspector Sloan solve a three-decade-old murder mystery?
The author plays fair with her clues, and by the end of "A Late Phoenix" you should be able to deduce the identity the villain before 'Seedy' Sloan initiates the final chase.
These Calleshire Chronicles have been labelled 'cozies' by some reviewers, but I find them a bit too edgy to easily fit into the 'cozy' category. Catherine Aird's humor has many hidden barbs. I'd classify her Inspector Sloan books as police procedurals, with interesting dollops of village life in not-so-cozy postwar England.
A skeleton turns up in a bomb site from WW 2 instead of the expected Saxon remains. Was it murder or a victim of the bombing? A very enjoyable read with a little WW 2 humor, tidbits of history about blackouts and bombings, and many interesting characters.
A WW2 death is exposed during construction on a site where bombs had demolished the homes. Crosby is as young, disinterested and clueless as usual but still manages to say something that triggers Sloan's deductions. The Superintendent in charge is obsessing over hippies while trying to show off his intellect, while Sloan actually does the work. And Sloan seems to be quoting Shakespeare and poetry which no one catches. Some humor here and there. This was good but didn't knit together as well as the others. The Phoenix reference is nebulous.