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

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  410 ratings  ·  50 reviews
Rookie detective Peter Shaw, along with his chain-smoking, hard-as-nails, veteran partner, is confronted with a baffling crime that stretches him to the breaking point.
Paperback, 389 pages
Published March 1st 2009 by Penguin Books (first published 2008)
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Stephen
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...more
Eric_W
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...more
Trish
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
Michael
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...more
Susan
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...more
Kathy
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
Carolyn
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.
Jyv
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.
Erik Ryman
Sep 01, 2008 Erik Ryman rated it 5 of 5 stars
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...more
Karen
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...more
Jmm
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...more
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...more
Eccentrika
"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...more
Hobart
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...more
LeeAnne
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
DarthGonzo
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
Ed
British police procedural and complex mystery, first of a series and a terrific crime novel. An impossible murder--the victim is in his car. His car is one of eight stuck in a snowstorm. He is found stabbed through the eye, sitting at the wheel of his vehicle. There are no footprints leading to or away from the murder scene, none of the cars have moved and the Norfolk police can't come up with a motive. Two other, apparently unrelated bodies show up in the area at the same time.

Peter Shaw and G...more
Susan
Jul 08, 2014 Susan added it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Gary Van Cott
A reasonably good book, but somewhat complex. It isn't unusual for mysteries to have two plots lines which are usually tied together at the end. However, midway through this book I counted at least 6, of which all but one comes to a conclusion at the end. The author did a fairly good job keeping the large number of police and other characters reasonably distinct. Worth reading more in this series, although I prefer books which include a woman among the main characters.
Janet
Wow! I loved this book. The plot is one of the best I've ever read and kept me avidly interested until the last page of the book. The writing is excellent and I liked how Kelly took the time to describe the physical scene and characters. He didn't give too much detail, but just the right amount I needed to create indelible images. If you are a fan of P.D. James, Elizabeth George, or Peter Robinson this is the writer for you!
Heidi
I really liked this mystery and am looking forward to reading the next one in the series. Well written with interesting characters and great English seaside settings, I liked trying to piece the threads of the complicate storyline together... a few too many bodies but it was nice to be surprised for a change. I especially like the story line that wasn't solved-- makes me want to run to the library for the next book.
Amy
Aug 10, 2009 Amy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: fiction
Tightly written, fast-paced murder mystery set in Norfolk, England. Excellent balance between character and plot. We get enough backstory and details about the personal lives of the detectives that they're more than just cardboard cutouts, but not so much that their stories overwhelm the case they're investigating. I'm impressed enough to want to read Kelly's projected follow-up books involving these detectives.
Mickey Hoffman
This book begins with unexplained deaths in a snowstorm. I don't know when I've read a book with so much detail and so many questions to be answered. I was thinking, "How's this ever going to be explained?" But it is, all of it. Sometimes the intricacy of detail is almost Sherlockian, and a few times I wished there were fewer characters, but in all, a splendid mystery.
Jan
Nov 01, 2013 Jan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: crime
An almost perfect crime story. Interesting policemen, without the standard alcohol problem/broken marriage backstory. Twisty, hard to guess plot. Like most British crime stories, the crime stems from human weakness and poor choices rather than from a socio-pathic aberration to the human norm. A great weekend read and I will hunt down the rest of the series. Really, a 4.5.
Alistair
First of Jim Kelly's new protagonist,DI Shaw.

It was ok and the plot clever, although occasionally hard to follow in places without re-reading.

In my opinion, there was a bit too much of stereotypically unmatched police partners, with the ensuing frictions, here.


Must also say,strangely reminiscent of Christopher Fowler's ''White Corridor'
F.R.
This police-procedural has the nice Christie-esque set up of a dead body found in a traffic jam of eight cars. Of course there are no obvious suspects amongst any of the other drivers. However it’s written in such a dour humourless way (and without any David Peace style pyrotechnics) that it often feels a chore rather than a pleasure.
Lawrence
A series of dead bodies on a winter night in one coastal area with one a seemingly impossible crime give the reader a good plot. Jim Kelly adds a complicated detective as a central character who as He does his job he tries to clear his fathers name in a earlier case that was thrown out of court. Finding the solution is a good read.
Sarah
Readable, but a little more complex than really believable or fun. All the interconnections started to get a bit tiring. Tried to sum it up in a few sentences- failed miserably, though it was fun to try. But hey, murder mysteries are what they are, and I'll read the next in the series (no way won't there be a few more with these folks).
Caitlin
Holy crap on a cracker.. this book is amazing. To be fair, there were slow parts. But I promise you the last chapter.. hell, in the last two pages, makes up for any slow parts. Brilliantly crafted, I hope there will be more from this author and with this character. Read it, read it, read it!
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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.
More about Jim Kelly...
The Water Clock (Philip Dryden, #1) The Fire Baby (Philip Dryden, #2) Death Toll (DI Peter Shaw & DS George Valentine #3) Death Watch (DI Peter Shaw & DS George Valentine, #2) The Coldest Blood (Philip Dryden, #4)

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