this is the 205th in my series of forgotten or seldom read books
A Perfect Match by Jill McGown, Fawcett Crest 1983 mass market paperback, mystery, first in Detective Inspector Lloyd & Judy Hill series.
“The September dawn crept over the sky like water on blotting paper, spreading a fine, thin light to supplement the yellow glow of the street lighting. In the town centre shopping precinct, photo-cells registered the increase, and the anti-theft store lights clicked softly, obediently switching themselves off.”
Once again, a recent Friday Forgotten Book review encouraged me to find a copy of a book. This book, to be specific, and, as it was at hand, just having come in the mail, I read it and here are my thoughts.
This is the first in a series, and I never know quite what to make of a first-in-series book. Is the author experimenting with setting and characters? Is this a plot that came to the author like a bolt of lightening, some inspired idea, an epiphany ? Or has the writer cobbled something together between lunch and dinner? With a first in series novel, you never know. So I sat, I read and here’s what I think.
Stansfield is a small English town an hour’s drive, perhaps a bit more, from London. Detective Inspector Lloyd Hill works on major crimes, but murder isn’t common. So it’s an unpleasant surprise when the body of a woman, dead, naked, strangled, is found in the woods near the boating lake just outside of town. The relationships between the victim, the family with whom she has been staying, her solicitor, his wife, the mechanic at the local garage, the estate agent working to sell the boating property to the town are all very tangled. In fact, the primary element in this mystery is tangled relationships. I suggest the reader pay close attention to that early on, or things will seem even more complicated than they turn out to be, and that’s complicated indeed.
I liked the book enough to try the next in the series, though it’s a bit off-putting when I guess the murderer very early on. Not that the author didn’t try to trick me away from my early conclusion, but I wasn’t convinced.
Another thing I should mention is that some of the relationships I mentioned are between the Inspector and his “charming young detective sergeant” Judy Hill. I assume that continues in following books. So if you’re opposed to a bit of “relationship” in your mystery books, you’ve been warned.
While not great, this is good, pleasant reading. I expect better in the next book in the series, Murder at the Old Vicarage.