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Death Wore White (DI Peter Shaw & DS George Valentine #1)

3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  563 ratings  ·  63 reviews

At 5.15 p.m. Harvey Ellis was trapped - stranded in a line of eight cars by a blizzard on a Norfolk coast road.

At 8.15 p.m. Harvey Ellis was dead - viciously stabbed at the wheel of his truck.

And his killer has achieved the impossible: striking without being seen, and without leaving a single footprint in the snow . . .

For DI Peter Shaw and DS George Valentine it's only t

Kindle Edition, 404 pages
Published (first published 2008)
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I know that I am no judge of what constitutes good writing, but this book is filled with evocative images. For example, as the inspectors regarded a beach following a snowstorm where a man had been found dead, "sometimes a seagull wheeled, ripping a tiny white tear in the monochrome canvas." Or, "Crews disembarked, pencil-gray outlines working in a bank of falling snowflakes, bristling with rakes and buckets and forks."

As Stephen points out, this is a form of "locked room" mystery.""There's a pa
This is a wonderful locked room mystery, except it's not in a locked room at all. When reviewing a mystery one has to be very careful to not give away too much, which is easy to do with a book like this.

The two detectives are a study in contrasts. Peter Shaw is young, by the book, and forensics orientated. George Valentine is older, a smoker with some serious lung issues, and was the partner of Peter Shaw's late father. The problem is, Peter Shaw's father and Valentine were of the school of find
The name Jim Kelly sounds American to me, in a way that the Australian name Ned Kelly does not. But author Jim Kelly is British, and he has produced a mystery worthy of a series with Death wore White. The descriptions of the two lead investigators on a triple homicide are strong and fully-fleshed, containing those rogue contradictions in character that make the action realistic, and interesting. Other characters are quickly sketched but contain the essence of personality and form. The author use ...more
Det. Inspector Peter Shaw and veteran officer, Det. Sgt. George Valentine are sent to the Norfolk, shore to look for containers of toxic waste that police in England suspect are being dumped in that location. While there, the officers discover a dead body in a raft, washing up against the shore. The weather is terrible and blizzard conditions prevail.

Not far away, someone has placed a sign on the main road that due to flooding, motorists should detour to the coastal road. A tree has been cut and
Death Wore White is the first book of the Detective Inspector Peter Shaw and Detective Sergeant George Valentine series by Jim Kelly, set in present-day Norfolk, England. It features an intricate plot with deep characterizations.

Shaw and Valentine are members of (fictitious) West Norfolk Constabulary, extremely awkward in their new partnership. Valentine had been partner to Shaw’s deceased father, DCI Jack Shaw, up until their infamous last case, in which their handling of evidence was ruled ‘s
Slow reading. Starred reviews for this author from Booklist, Publishers Weekly and Kirkus. Perhpas only Kirkus for this book. Police procedural - interesting enough main character, Peter Shaw, but very convoluted plot of murder on stranded coastal road with lots of characters, subplot of detective and new partner George Valentine, under a cloud involving detective Shaw's father. They unsuccessfully tried to get new info and open the old case; at end Peter will pursue on his own. Guess there's an ...more
Oswego Public Library District
With Death Wore White British author Jim Kelly launches an intricately plotted police procedural mystery series. During a miserable snowstorm, motorists are stranded, toxic waste appears on the shoreline, and of course, there is also a body or rather three bodies that seem unrelated to one another. Thus begins the methodical unraveling of clues by a pair of detectives working together for the first time.

What works so well here are the dynamics between the two detectives. George Valentine is near
British author Jim Kelly gives readers here an intricately plotted police procedural mystery. During a miserable snowstorm, motorists are stranded, toxic waste appears on the shoreline, and of course, there is also a body or rather three bodies that seem unrelated to one another. Thus begins the methodical unraveling of clues by a pair of detectives working together for the first time.

What works so well here are the dynamics between the two detectives. George Valentine is nearing retirement and
Lucy Takeda
I've read the ( I think) first novel in this series, which I enjoyed. It's a police/detective story. The characters are well defined. The conflict between the two major police officers reminds me of Dalziel and Pascol, or Morse and Lewis---kind of backwards, ( The lower rank guy has been in the force " forever," the higher rank guy with college is newer. The lower rank character worked with the upper rank guy's father, which leads to all sorts of psychological issues.) I enjoyed the setting; the ...more
Rather contrived and stuffed with plot twists just for the sake of it. Not especially well-written, with rather bizarre metaphors, and the characters were rather one-dimensional. Perhaps the creation of detectives of the complexity and depth of Wallander, Rebus and above all, Erlendur has spoiled my appreciation of anything less. I found Shaw decidedly shallow and poorly drawn.
I found the style of writing ponderous. There was some unusual use of words for descriptions that seemed unnecessary (eg "pus-coloured" headlights). I didn't care about any of the characters nor was I really bothered about the outcome. I just wanted to finish it so I could start something hopefully more enjoyable.
The blurb on the cover from the NY Times Book Review pulled me in: "Ever since the days of Agatha Christie, the great divide in the British detective story has been between plot and character...which is why the novels of Jim Kelly are something of a find." Add to that -- my favorite -- the impossible crime: Eight cars and their passengers are stranded by a downed tree during a blizzard on a Norfolk coast road. When police arrive, the driver of the lead car is found dead, a chisel in his left eye ...more
Crime thrillers aren't usually a genre known for their excellent writing, unless I'm reading the wrong books. Whilst there are some exciting writers working within it, they're not generally the kind of books you'd pick up for the quality of their writing, more for the quality of the story. That alone makes Jim Kelly's "Death Wore White" something of a surprise and something well worth picking up, as he manages both.

One wintry evening on the Norfolk coast, DI Shaw and DS Valentine are investigati
Eight vehicles are stuck in a blizzard. When it clears, one driver is dead. How could it happen and who is behind it?

This pairs Peter Shaw, a young and smart detective, with George Valentine, an older cop who is trying to come back from being disciplined after being charged with manufacturing evidence.

It's a lot more complicated than it first seems. I wish it were a little simpler, more like the classic Agatha Christie mystery. However, it kept me guessing even as clues were revealed, something
Erik Ryman
Sep 01, 2008 Erik Ryman rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anybody who likes crime or has an open mind
DI Peter Shaw and his newly appointed partner DS George Valentine have a history in common but not a lot of love for each other. Shaw is the modern copper son of Valentine's former partner and both live in the shadow of a final case that went wrong, with Valentine being demoted and exiled to the east and Shaw's father being retired in disgrace.

Set in England for once, the pair are thrown straight into a series of complex accidents/murders, and the painstakingly forensic approach of the younger
There's nothing better than a well-executed version of one of the good old staples of crime fiction - a twist on the locked room scenario.

DEATH WORE WHITE is the first in a new series from CWA Dagger Winner Jim Kelly, an author well known for his ongoing Philip Dryden books. DI Peter Shaw and DS George Valentine are a good pairing - Valentine the older cop, ex-partner of Shaw's father, his career has seen higher points. Shaw, on the other hand, is a rising star, keen to prove himself and to clea
The snows of January complicate the investigations of three mysterious deaths in Jim Kelly’s marvelous police procedural set on northern Norfolk coast of England where Death Wore White. Kelly’s well-developed characters and atmospheric location drive a complex plot that should satisfy the pickiest of mystery buffs.

As upstart Detective Inspector Peter Shaw and embattled aging Detective Sergeant George Valentine examine a toxic waste drum drifting near shore off Ingol Beach, they spot a child’s r
Shonna Froebel
This book has a lot going on. DI Peter Shaw has been teamed up with DS George Valentine, his father's old partner, demoted after the last case the two had.
There are still questions around that last case and the behaviour of the police.
When the two are sent out to the coast to check out hazardous containers that have washed ashore, they find more than they expected. Shaw already has an eye injury from a previous incident with hazardous waste washed ashore. When they find the container he is cauti
"Trappola bianca" rientra in quella categoria di thriller polizieschi contemporanei ma di stampo classico, con delitti macchinosi e apparentemente inspiegabili che fino alla fine fanno lambicare la mente del lettore.
L'ambientazione a inizio libro è quantomai originale e intrigante. Un tardo pomeriggio invernale, persone che a bordo delle loro auto cercano di fare ritorno a casa o portare a compimento alcune commissioni, una bufera di neve in crescendo. Ad un certo punto c'è una deviazione sulla
At the end of the day, there was a lot more going on here than there is in a typical detective novel -- police procedural or not; British police or American police -- most just don't have as much happening. This makes for a richer, although not necessarily more satisfying, police procedural.

Like most mystery novels, there are really 2 things going on here -- you've got a character story, and a mystery storyline. In this case there are five mysteries, technically -- and it's unclear for most of t
A good British police procedural. The mystery was quite complicated and challenging, the characters were interesting - especially the dynamics of a young Detective Inspector pairing up with his father's former partner, now demoted after both were assumed to fabricate evidence in a long ago case. So, clever new(ish) detective matched with an experienced detective taking his last chance, and a twisty mystery with puzzle pieces constantly rescrambled. Good start to a series.

I'm not sure whether or not to give this 2 or 3 stars so I'm going to go with 2.5!!! How about that for a cop out :P

There were a lot of things I liked but it was a bit boring/too much trivia, details, contrived plot etc. .... lets hope the series improves with each book!! :)
I'm not even sure where to begin. The premise of this book is intriguing. A man is found dead in the driver's seat of a van during a blizzard. The van is stuck on a country road with cars backed up behind it and there are only two sets of footprints leading to and from the car: the dead man's and those of the driver of the car behind. After that, the book is such a mishmash of back story, parallel stories, and red herrings that it is really hard to keep anything straight. Then there are the exot ...more
I think I would have enjoyed this audiobook if I'd been in a position to concentrate on it better. But then perhaps it didn't interest me as much as other reviewers and that was why I didn't concentrate enough on it. Either way, it gets an average rating from me.
Ron Chicaferro
Death Wore White is a complex British who-done-it. Its filled with amazingly detailed and believeable suspects. Its the story of two British Cops, Peter Shaw - a very smart Detective Inspector and his partner, a recentely demoted Detective Sargeant. Their case involves kidnapping, murder and smuggling. It also involves an old murder which was originally handled by DI Shaw's own father - also a cop and now deceased. All of the action happens in the dead of winter and you'll feel cold and windblow ...more
Called a classic locked room mystery, I think the plot was just a little to convoluted to ring true. Imaginative, yes, but a little over the top for me. The characters are intriguing though so I'll try another.
Caroline Ingvaldsen
Satisfying police procedural introducing an interesting pair of detectives and featuring highly convoluted but ultimately plausible plotting.
Stuart Graver
This is a gem. Great to read about familiar areas of Norfolk, but more importantly a very cleverly plotted story with great central characters. I'll be looking to get the next few in this very entertaining series!
Sam Whitehouse
An atmospheric mystery thriller whose greatest strength is its setting. The characters are well developed and the mystery is hard to figure out. It loses a little momentum halfway through, but things pick up once everything starts coming together.
Highly recommended
Les Wilson
My first Jim Kelly book and enjoyed it enough for me to try another, hoping it will be as good.
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Jim Kelly is a journalist and education correspondent for the Financial Times. He lives in Ely with the biographer Midge Gilles and their young daughter. The Water Clock, his first novel, was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey Award for best first crime novel of 2002.

Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.
More about Jim Kelly...

Other Books in the Series

DI Peter Shaw & DS George Valentine (6 books)
  • Death Watch (DI Peter Shaw & DS George Valentine, #2)
  • Death Toll (DI Peter Shaw & DS George Valentine #3)
  • Death's Door (DI Peter Shaw & DS George Valentine, #4)
  • At Death's Window: A Shaw and Valentine Police Procedural
  • Death on Demand (Shaw and Valentine 6)

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