I gave Who Killed Vivien Morse? by Diana J Febry 4 out of 5*
Vivien Morse, a young social worker is discovered battered to death in Silver Lady Woods. Everyone assumes she was attacked by her estranged husband until her supervisor disappears. The connection appears to be Vivien’s last client. A damaged and disturbed girl who believes a bundle of rags is her lost baby and never leaves the family farm while she awaits the return of her lover.
The matter is confused by the arrival of a stranger to the area clearly searching for something or someone and an escaped convict with connections to the area.
DCI Hatherall has to separate fact from fantasy to discover who did kill Vivien Morse.
I hadn’t read any of Diana J Febry’s work before so wasn’t sure what to expect. I have read the later books in a series before and been confused by the characters involved but Who Killed Vivien Morse? (the fourth book of the protagonist, DCI Peter Hatherall series) can be read as a stand alone book without any difficulty.
I loved this author’s style of writing which, by the way, is certainly not revealed in the Blurb. I expected a purely crime driven story. In the Blurb there is no mention of the dark humour, the small twists of idiosyncrasy in the characters, especially in Peter Hatherall and Fiona Williams, the short, witty descriptions of them and their dialogue.
The narrative meanders through many ‘red herrings’ to keep the reader guessing and entertained while meeting all the characters; all well rounded, most with complicated backgrounds and relationships (that are drip-fed throughout the story – no information dumping here!) All interesting, all have a part to play in the narrative.
The dialogue is so well written that it is easy to tell who is speaking without any dialogue tags and, alongside the thought-provoking, more significant interchanges, is peppered with wry, dry humour. I loved some of the earlier conversations between Peter Hatherall and Fiona Williams.
Set in a typical rural English; the victim, Vivien Morse,a young social worker, is found murdered in a place called Silver Lady Woods, Febry’s descriptions are brief but succinct; just enough to give a flavour of the place.
But there’s no getting away from the fact that this is a fast-moving murder mystery; there is a serious thread running throughout that the investigation has to succeed before another murder is committed. Certainly kept me on my toes. (and I always guessed wrong)
All in all Who Killed Vivien Morse? by Diana J Febry is a book I recommend.