Allison & Busby, this edition published Nov 2007
Reviewed by Sunnie Gill
Detective Inspector Charlie Priest is sitting in the monthly
superintendent’s briefing, doodling idly on his notepad, when Detective
Chief Superintendent Colin Swainby, one of the ugliest men ever to don a
uniform, announces he is leaving the force. He adds that certain
allegations are going to be made about him and asks that he be given the
benefit of the doubt.
Shortly after that a local member of parliament is photographed in a
compromising position in the back of his car. He too chooses to bow out
quietly, only he finds a much more permanent method.
A respectable headmistress of a local private girls’ school is picked up
on a drink driving charge. She claims to have been the victim of a cruel
trick at the hands of a man she met at a speed dating night. There is no
reason why Charlie should believe her, but he does. Three prominent
members of the community have had their previously unblemished careers
damaged or destroyed by scandal. Perhaps there is a connection.
These events fade into the background when a photograph of an unidentified
murder victim is circulated, asking the various stations if anyone can
identify the woman. She was found beaten to death with no identification
on her. The only clue is a rather distinctive tattoo on her buttock saying
“property of the pope”. Charlie recognises the victim from his days as an
art student. She was one of the regular models who posed for his life
Reading GRIEF ENCOUNTERS is like slipping into a pair of your favourite
comfy slippers. It may not set the world on fire for being fashionable or
chic but you know you are going to enjoy the experience. Stuart Pawson
steers away from the dysfunctional stereotypes that abound in crime
fiction these days. It is near impossible not to like the amiable Charlie
Priest and his team at Heckley nick. These are ordinary people who come to
work each day and share jokes, socialise and lead quiet unremarkable
lives; just like the majority of us. And perhaps that is the clue to the
popularity of Pawson’s Charlie Priest series. The men and women of Heckley
could so easily be you and me.
GRIEF ENCOUNTERS is the twelfth in the Charlie Priest series and may there
be many more.
March 2008 review originally published on Murder and Mayhem
All cover art used at Reviewer's Choice Reviews is copyrighted by the
respective publisher. All reviews and articles found at Reviewer's Choice
Reviews are the sole property of the contributor and are copyrighted by