Thursday, 2 September 2010

Requiem Mass by Elizabeth Corley

Five girls went out onto the cliffs during a school outing, only four returned. One of the girls fell off the cliff in a horrible accident which went unwitnessed by her friends. Her loss was tragic but life went on and the girls’ lives continued as planned. Twenty years later and one of the girls, now a wife and a mother, disappears after leaving for a day trip. Her husband is shocked and upset but knows his wife would never leave the children. Unfortunately, the police don’t believe him and her disappearance is only a blip in their records, and only then because the husband lodged a complaint. Had it not been for DCI Fenwick, no one would have ever looked at the case again, but Fenwick feels there are just too many warning bells about the case and can’t leave it alone. Then another crime is committed which may be connected and Fenwick sets off down the path which will lead him to investigating the girl’s death 20 years ago while trying to prevent even more murder.

I can’t even remember where I came across this book, but I’m glad I did. Corley creates some interesting characters from remarkable perspectives and presents her detective with several moral dilemmas which make the reader stop and think about justice in its entirety. What is justice and can it be wrong to pursue it in every case and at all costs? She also created a rather incongruous detective. Many of the protagonists in modern crime novels are young and single with no children or have a drink problem etc. etc. Fenwick is a family man who cares deeply about his children and his own effect on their lives. As such, Corley adds an element of reality by introducing a man who, like the rest of us, has to juggle his career and desire to rise in the ranks with his life without dropping the ball on either. I suppose the potential for the dysfunctionalism which is so prevalent in today’s society and modern literature, but it’s refreshing to find a character who is fighting it and hasn’t just given in and accepted that he must sacrifice his family to his career. Not that Fenwick doesn’t have his problems, but they don’t take pride of place in his life as they so often seem to nowadays.

Interesting plot, engaging characters, enough tension to keep it interesting and a depth which is often lacking in crime novels. 5/5


Scrabblequeen said...

This sounds pretty good. The bits you told about remind me of a Midsommer Murders we just watched recently. (episode is Left For Dead) I'm definately interested in reading this.

Mystica said...

I like the sound of this book very much. Sounds a really twisted tale.