Allison and Busby, this edition published Feb 2007
Reviewed by Sunnie Gill
Charlie Peace has just been promoted to the rank of Detective Inspector.
He and his wife Felicity are expecting their second child and they would
like to move out of the city. The trouble is they can't afford it. Then
Felicity's father, Rupert, makes them a very surprising offer. He will
help financially on condition he lives either with or near them. Rupert is
a very selfish and demanding man, and after much agonising, Felicity and
Charlie finally accept his offer.
They find just the houses they are looking for in the village of Slepton
Edge, a comfortable commute from the big city. One of the first people
Charlie and Felicity meet is Chris Carlson, a semi-retired doctor who is
running for Mayor. Chris is an admired member of the community who has
taken on the role of unofficial counsellor to the village. Like Felicity,
Chris' wife is also pregnant, so they have quite a lot in common and
quickly become friends.
Shortly after settling in, Felicity and Charlie find a small group of
children chanting insults outside the home of an elderly couple. They
appear to be quite young, too young to be so well organised. A few
enquiries lead them to the local school. The ringleader of the chanting
group is the school's star actress, fifteen-year-old Anna Michaels, a
nasty piece of work who seems to delight in exercising power over others.
Even more worrying, Rupert seems to have taken young Anna under his wing.
When Rupert is found dead at the bottom of a quarry, the local Detective
Inspector is adamant that it was an accident or suicide. Charlie and
Felicity believe there is more behind his death than appearances suggest
and undertake their own informal enquiries.
Although Charlie is a Detective Inspector, there is almost nothing of his
working life in A FALL FROM GRACE. The story centres entirely around his
family life and he and his wife settling into a new community. Although
this is the eighth Charlie Peace novel, it was my first encounter with him
and I'm afraid I found Charlie a little too pompous and humourless to
really warm to him. He was also a little too outspoken with his new
friends much earlier than I found comfortable.
I also felt that the resolution to the mystery was unsatisfying. Although
we learn after a fashion what happened, it is left as pure conjecture
rather than having evidence to support the theory. There are also one or
two rather unsatisfactory loose ends. I felt a little disappointed in A
FALL FROM GRACE. It could have been much more than it was.
Apr 2007 review originally published on Murder & Mayhem
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