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Death Toll

A Peter Shaw Mystery by Jim Kelly

Death Toll by Jim Kelly

Review: Detective Inspector Peter Shaw and his partner, Detective Sergeant George Valentine, investigate a decades old murder when the body of a young man is found buried atop a coffin in Death Toll, the third mystery in this series by Jim Kelly.

In 1982, Nora Tilden was killed by her husband, who threw her down the stairs. She was buried in the Fleming Meadow Cemetery in rural King Lynn, which is now being relocated due to repeated flooding. But when her grave is opened, there is the body of a black man, his head bashed in. Though badly decomposed, his identity is almost certainly that of Pat Garrison, who disappeared the night of Nora's wake. And there's a connection between them: Pat was Nora's nephew, the son of her sister and a black GI. But why would someone kill Pat? But soon Shaw and Valentine discover yet another connection between the families, one that may have been a motive for murder then and now. But after all these years, will it be possible to find any evidence to convict a killer?

Separately, the police partners take on another cold case, this one related to an investigation that Valentine worked on with Shaw's father when they were partners twelve years ago, involving the murder of a 15-year-old boy.

Death Toll is a multi-layered mystery, and every aspect of it is handled extraordinarily well. There's a simmering tension between Shaw and Valentine, ready to erupt at the slightest provocation, that makes for uneasy relationship between the two as they investigate their cases. The murder mysteries themselves are nicely plotted, intricately devised without being overly complicated. This is a fine example of the books in this series, one that should have a long run ahead of it.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Death Toll.

Acknowledgment: Minotaur Books provided a copy of Death Toll for this review.

Review Copyright © 2011 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved

Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author

Mystery Book Review: Death Watch by Jim KellyDeath Watch
Minotaur Books (Hardcover), May 2010
ISBN-13: 9780312644901; ISBN-10: 0312644906

Location(s) referenced in Death Toll: England

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Death Toll by Jim Kelly

Death Toll by A Peter Shaw Mystery

Publisher: Minotaur Books
Format: Hardcover
ISBN-13: 978-0-312-57352-2
Publication Date:
List Price: $25.99

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