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Past Tense (Inspector Sloan #23)

3.31  ·  Rating Details ·  242 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
"Aird's delicious concoctions are never less than elegant and mischievously sharp."
—The Times (London)

DCI Sloan and Constable Crosby are on the case again. A young girl has been murdered, found dead in the river. But what connection does she have to the recently deceased Josephine Short? Following the twisting trail of evidence, Sloan works to uncover the truth behind the
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ebook, 288 pages
Published March 1st 2011 by Minotaur (first published 2010)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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An Odd1
Oct 01, 2012 An Odd1 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Maybe comfortable because solution easy to guess from start in slow investigation. Flavor of eccentric England place and people foreign to me. Focus trickily red-herring, suprisingly sideways, on minor character Jan Wakefield, her adulterous husband, their inability to have children, ending "And one has to move on, hasn't one?" p286. Somehow readable despite (or because of?) predictability, distractions, shallow characters, minimal action.

Elderly Miss Josephine Eleanor Short - deaf, blind, wishi
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Bev
It's been a while since I've read a mystery by Catherine Aird. I first discovered her about twenty years ago. It's hard to believe that she's been writing her Inspector Sloan mysteries for over forty years. Of course now, in Past Tense--the most recent adventure written in 2010--he is a Detective Chief Inspector and the police have cell phones and computers at their beck and call. But the style is the same. Aird writes a very smooth, quick read. The mystery is complex enough to hold the attentio ...more
Mark
Jan 17, 2016 Mark rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the quiet, English countryside an old lady dies in her bed at the local nursing home. Janet Wakefield receives notification 14her husband Bill, who is stationed in South America by his company, is the next of kin 14which is a surprise because neither of them even knew Josephine Short existed.
Sent to make the funeral arrangements, Janet discovers that all the particulars have been laid out by the decedent. The church, the hotel and 1Cbun wrestle 1D, as the reception is described, and the 18no
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Mark
Jan 07, 2011 Mark rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the quiet, English countryside an old lady dies in her bed at the local nursing home. Janet Wakefield receives notification—her husband Bill, who is stationed in South America by his company, is the next of kin—which is a surprise because neither of them even knew Josephine Short existed.
Sent to make the funeral arrangements, Janet discovers that all the particulars have been laid out by the decedent. The church, the hotel and “bun wrestle”, as the reception is described, and the ‘no flowers’
...more
Rebecca
Mar 13, 2015 Rebecca rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
(I finished this two days ago and can't remember the names of most of the characters, so apologies if I get them wrong!) Joyce Wakefield is surprised to learn that her husband's great aunt not only lived in her town, but died there and they are her next of kin, responsible for her funeral. Since her husband is out of the country, it's up to Joyce. The elderly Josephine, she learns, was the pariah of the family for having a baby out of wedlock. At the last minute, her grandson--who also works abr ...more
Stven
Aug 21, 2012 Stven rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Stven by: library
This is some rather thin soup. The mystery is not very complex. The title is pointless. The personalities are not particularly winning. The detectives are not especially bright.

The wit is downright weak. Detective Sloan does the footwork and the brainwork, and his pal Crosby is evidently along only to chip in with slightly inapposite remarks which are clearly intended to raise the comedy quotient in the book but which really have very little effect. Likewise Sloan reports at intervals to his sup
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Liz
Sep 04, 2011 Liz rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought I'd solved the mystery toward the beginning of the story. But that could have been because of my natural suspicion and the help given in the book synopsis. As I read on, I began to doubt myself - there was more than one mystery in this mystery, after all!
Overall, the story flowed well, and was an easy read. The characters were easily relatable. I did think there was a loose end or two, namely why string us along about the husband, only to have him fizzle at the end. The ending, howeve
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Grey853
Mar 14, 2011 Grey853 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, british
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ann Woodbury Moore
Catherine Aird is not that well-known in this country, but follows the classic British mystery tradition of Christie, Sayers, Allingham, and Tey. Most of her novels feature Chief Inspector Christopher Dennis “Seedy” Sloan and his frequent sidekick, the somewhat dense Detective Constable Crosby. They’ve been compared to “a quaint English combination resembling Abbott and Costello with an accent.” Similar authors include Peter Lovesey and Robert Barnard.
Sharon
Oct 25, 2012 Sharon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked the writing style so I wanted to give this four stars, but there were two major drawbacks for me.
First, I knew very early in the book "who, how, and why". Second, the husband's VERY bad behavior is never dealt with.
I may try some earlier books by this author, because I really did like the style.

Mara Pemberton
It was a book that was only 6 hours long. Really enjoyed it. It's been a while since I have listened to a book written by Catherine Aird. Love DCI Christopher Sloan. Perfect who dunit on a rainy Sunday afternoon.
Patricia
Jun 03, 2011 Patricia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
The latest from Catherine Aird. I didn't like this as much as some of the others but it was still enjoyable. A well-written "cozy" with humorous characters and a good plot. I have thought since I started reading these that they would make a great PBS Mystery series.
Cece
Apr 20, 2011 Cece rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
Sloan, Crosby and Leeyes are old friends, and it was lovely to meet them again after a break in the publishing schedule. 3 stars because I figured several things out early on. But it was still good fun.
Calzean
It was OK - a fairly bland English detective story, probably one for the fans.

An old lady dies, her grandson arrives at the funeral. There is a death of a nurse. There is a robbery. Some of the events are red herrings. It takes a while but the police finally realises whodunit.
Greg
Apr 16, 2011 Greg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Catherine Aird's story is engaging as DCI Sloan methodically investigates the murder of a young girl and tries to determine how it is related to the death of an old woman. His sidekick Crosby, however, is not a very entertaining or likeable person, so that distracts from the story.
Pat Beard
Kind of average. Predictable, not much in the way of great or unique characters, mildly entertaining. I'll try one more before I give up on the series as the first one I read was a bit better than this one.
Renie
May 14, 2011 Renie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
good story - but I did figure out the end about half way through the book. It is a fast read and has some good twists.
Cindy
Dec 04, 2014 Cindy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: catherine-aird
This was great! I figured out who did the killing early on but it was all the other charaters who were so interesting and I wanted to kinow what part they played in the killing.
Judy Nedry
A rather pedestrian British mystery with lots of adverbs and a particularly obnoxious investigator's sidekick.
Cheri Stringer
Dec 07, 2013 Cheri Stringer rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: completed
OK but not outstanding.
Melody Klink
Predictable from the get-go. But still interesting.
Damaskcat
Aug 31, 2012 Damaskcat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Janet Wakefield receives a telephone call out of the blue to say a relative of her husband's has died in a local nursing home. Janet is puzzled because she doesn't recall Bill ever mentioning any relatives locally. As her husband is away on business she arranges the funeral and is surprised to meet a young man who claims to be Aunt Josephine's grandson.

Meanwhile Sloan and Crosby are asked to investigate a break in at the home at which Bill's Aunt Josephine was resident. Nothing seems to have bee
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Emily
Jul 06, 2011 Emily rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not very satisfactory. The solution hinged on some pretty weak evidence and even after it was explained, I still didn't see how they came to their conclusions, even though I figured who the murderer was about halfway into the book.

I have always enjoyed this series, but the more recent offerings just haven't been as much fun. Aird has been writing these for many years, and while perhaps never tightly plotted, the earlier books have at least the charm of nostalgia. As modern police procedurals, th
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Susan
Jun 13, 2011 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-england
Janet is surprised when her husband's great aunt dies--she and Bill, now in Brazil for his job, hadn't known the old woman was alive and living in the vicinity. She makes all the funeral arrangements, but is surprised when the maiden lady's grandson appears at the services. Meanwhile, there are a series of mysterious break-ins bothering the police. All this becomes unimportant, however, when a body is found. If you have read much Aird, you'll know who the culprit is, but the journey is still a p ...more
Tony
Oct 19, 2013 Tony rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An easy entertaining read, just as I remember them being when I read a few back in the 1970's.Strange that I've never seen these characters on TV, they would be ideal for easy viewing as well.
Now I've STILL got to finish that heavy book about Napoleon........

Barbara
A nice light read. A traditional British police procedural mystery. Easy to solve. Perhaps a bit too fluffy.
June
Aug 16, 2011 June rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed the feel of this book. There is a certain simplicity to life, where people behave properly even if they are killing each other
Harry Lane
Jun 14, 2011 Harry Lane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nicely done British mystery. Disparate elements thrown together and not brought into harmony until the very last.
Lyn
Aug 07, 2016 Lyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really didn't see the end of this one coming! I'm going to have to try out a few of the other ones in the series. pbs....Crosby is Really Annoying!!!!!!
Lilania Kershaw
Lilania Kershaw rated it liked it
Nov 25, 2015
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Catherine Aird (born 1930) is the pseudonym of author Kinn Hamilton McIntosh. She was born in Huddersfield, Yorkshire, and is the author of more than twenty crime fiction novels and story collections. Her writings are similar to those of Vivien Armstrong, M C Beaton and Pauline Bell.

Aird is creator of the Sloan and Crosby novels, set in the CID department of the fictional Berebury, West Calleshire
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More about Catherine Aird...

Other Books in the Series

Inspector Sloan (1 - 10 of 25 books)
  • The Religious Body (Inspector Sloan #1)
  • Henrietta Who? (Inspector Sloan #2)
  • The Stately Home Murder (Inspector Sloan #3)
  • A Late Phoenix (Inspector Sloan #4)
  • His Burial Too (Inspector Sloan #5)
  • Slight Mourning (Inspector Sloan #6)
  • Parting Breath  (Inspector Sloan #7)
  • Some Die Eloquent (Inspector Sloan #8)
  • Passing Strange (Inspector Sloan #9)
  • Last Respects (Inspector Sloan #10)

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