The Murders at Fleat House, by Lucinda Riley

The Murders at Fleat House by Lucinda Riley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I would love to read more about Jazz!”, were my immediate thoughts after finishing Riley’s novel. After a string of novels which mostly were readable at best, I couldn’t really find fault with this one and, in fact, found it actually hard to put down.

Detective Inspector Jazmine “Jazz” Hunter, our protagonist, was – to me – a highly likeable person. Jazz is recovering from a difficult marriage and having retreated from London to the Salthouse Marshes of North Norfolk is asked to (at least temporarily) come back to investigate the death of a pupil at his boarding school.

This premise is already pretty much exactly a setting I’ve loved for decades – a harsh landscape, a boarding school and murders. This is certainly not new but it somehow managed to feel fresh.

The cast was large but due to Riley’s great job at creating not only a vibrant backdrop but also very likeable and plausible characters (although, yes, some may lean a bit to stereotypes), it was easy to understand the relationships between them and what made them “tick”.

Especially the dynamics between the investigators (apart from the intruding ex-husband) were highly enjoyable. Jazz and Miles were a bit like Lynley and Havers or Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James (before they became an item!).

As for the story itself, I very much enjoyed how cleverly Riley managed to intertwine past events with the crimes in the present. From early on, I felt like just reading on and on. At one point, I actually managed to read till falling asleep while stubbornly trying to read just one more page…

And I really, truly loved the hopeful, happy ending.

For what it is and within its genre, this murder mystery in the best tradition of British crime fiction garners five out of five stars from me!

Ceterum censeo Putin esse delendam

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