Sunday, June 29, 2008

Still Waters-Nigel McCrery

Still Waters
Nigel McCrery
Pantheon, Aug 2008, $23.95
ISBN: 9780307377036

Essex Detective Sergeant Emma Bradbury asks Detective Chief Inspector Mark Lapslie, who is one medical leave, to come to a car crash scene where the rotted body of an elderly woman wrapped in plastic has been found. Apparently the vehicle dug the corpse out of a shallow grave.

Dealing with synthesia Mark, who tastes sound such as his mobile ringing tasting like chocolate, reluctantly arrives at the scene to look around; his first case in almost a year. The two cops conclude that the killer left little behind except cutting the fingers off the victim’s right hand. They later learn the deceased is Violet Chambers who was killed with a garden plant poison and the fingers nipped by a garden shears. They tie her death to abductions of other senior citizens and begin to fear a serial killer who is planting the elderly into the ground.

This is an opening tale of a new English police procedural starring a unique detective. The strength and weakness of STILL WATERS is Lapslie. His sensual issues caused by synthesia makes him a fascinating protagonist with little hints at how he perceives the world like his tasting his phone ringing. However, how complex and convoluted that makes his life and how he successfully overcame his different outlook to become a DCI is not dug deep enough to satisfy the audience; instead he seems totally adapted with just asides to remind the reader his senses work differently. Still this is an enjoyable first tale with hopefully more synthesia caused issues surfacing in which Lapslie’s observations are prevalent to the case.

Harriet Klausner