'A beguiling author who interweaves past and present' The Times
An excavation at the lost gardens of Earlsacre Hall is halted when a skeleton is discovered beneath a 300-year-old stone plinth - the remains of a woman who was buried alive.
But even when more skeletons are found in the walled garden, DS Wesley Peterson has more pressing matters on his hands. A man has been stabbed to death at a holiday park and the only clue to his identity is a newspaper cutting about the restoration of Earlsacre Hall gardens.
Local solicitor Brian Willerby is eager to talk to Wesley about the case, but before Brian can reveal his secret he is killed.
What is it about Earlsacre Hall that leads people to murder? And what is the sinister secret of the bone garden? For someone close to Wesley, time is running out . . .
Whether you've read the whole series, or are discovering Kate Ellis's DI Wesley Peterson novels for the first time, this is the perfect, gripping mystery if you love reading Elly Griffiths and Ann Cleeves.
Once again British author Ellis smoothly blends old and recent crimes in an archeological mystery featuring Det. Sergeant Wesley Peterson and his fellow Tradmouth (Devon) police officers. Detective Constable Rachel Tracey in particular makes a striking return from last year's The Funeral Boat. While clearing the overgrown site of the extensive 17th-century gardens of Earlsacre Hall during a restoration project, diggers find two skeletons, one belonging to a young woman buried alive three centuries earlier. Neil Watson, of the County Archeology Unit, calls Peterson, with whom he studied archeology at university, but Peterson is busy investigating a stabbing murder in a nearby caravan park. Skillfully combining identity theft and blackmail with murder, the author treats the reader to a host of distinctive supporting characters, including the owner of a discreet brothel, its girls and clients, a petty thief, a sex-driven "poetess in residence," a solicitor's litigious neighbor and Peterson's giddy and unconventional mother-in-law. The well-researched historical background (involving the enslavement in the West Indies of rebels against James II) and an unusual murder weapon (a "knocking-in mallet" used on cricket bats) add interest. Anglophiles will drink up the local color and south Devon towns modeled on Dartmouth and Torbay.