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A Killing Tree

(D. I. Zig Batten #1)

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3.95  ·  Rating details ·  40 ratings  ·  10 reviews
Escape to the country? Escape to murder...
When a hiking group finds a very dead body at a local beauty spot, D. I. Zig Batten begins to regret his transfer from urban Yorkshire to not-so-sleepy Somerset.
Is it a coincidence that the victim worked for the vast private estate of Wake Hall - home of a shifty horse-sales business run by a slap-happy Northern adversary and hi
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Paperback, 392 pages
Published March 29th 2015 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (first published March 21st 2015)
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3.95  · 
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 ·  40 ratings  ·  10 reviews


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Elizabeth Ducie
Jul 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
I took a while to get to like DI Zig Batten. He is methodical, slow-thinking on occasion and has a habit of talking to himself which irritated me to begin with. But the character grew on me and I ended up very much enjoying his company and looking forward to meeting him again. The first outing for Paul Toolan's detective, relocated from Yorkshire to Somerset, is a good, solid, satisfying read. There are some well-rounded characters and a couple of very unpleasant villains.Thoroughly recommended.
Elaine Tomasso
Mar 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
I liked A Killing Tree and think it is a very credible first novel. The protagonist is DI Zig Batten, newly arrived in Somerset from Leeds under a slight cloud. He soon teams up with Sergeant Ball (Batten Ball as they joke) to form an effective duo and, hopefully, the basis of a future series.
The plot is extremely complicated as it involves the murder by poison of Lawrence Vell, the estate manager at Wake Hall where Ollie Rutter, a gangster well known to Zig, has set up shop as a horse broker. S
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Gloria Antypowich
Sep 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing


I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I will admit that at first I was distracted from the actual story, by the the UK idioms that are very different from North American speech even though we all speak “English.”
I read when I go to bed, and I was constantly reading lines to my husband, because I found the expressions so amusing.

But all laughter aside, there is a real detective novel hidden beneath all those words.

Detective Zig Batten (CID) finds himself exported from urban Yorkshire to rural Sommerse
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J Aislynn d'Merricksson
I'll be honest. I am *very* picky when it comes to detective/ mystery novels. I decided to give this book a chance, and boy am I glad I did!


It was engaging right from the start, full of British humour and wit. Toolan did a great job of ramping up reader curiosity regarding Lawrence Vann (who immediately took on the appearance of James Spader for me!), and the mysterious Chief Inspector Jellicoe. I still want to know more about that mystery!!


I adored the play on names, most especially Zig Batten
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Michael Lynes
Jul 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Killing Tree by Paul Toolan is a wonderfully written novel - full stop.

Presented in the classic mystery/suspense/detective style; it is a tour-de-force of the art, eschewing the well worn cliche's of the genre for a fresh perspective and deep character development. In this first story (of hopefully many), we are introduced to Inspector Zig Batten of the CID. Inspector Batten is an irreverent iconoclast with a persistent inner dialog which verges on the poetic. This introspective is skillfully
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Marnie Doble
May 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Paul Toolan is right up there with my favourite crime writers. 'A killing tree' has a gripping, contemporary plot with believable characters. And very refreshing to read a book with a Somerset setting. I was sorry to finish it - always a sign of a good read! Eagerly awaiting the next one in the series. Highly recommended.
Lee Holz
Aug 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
One of the best British mysteries I've read in a long time. In complexity, good plot and completeness of character development, author Toolan reminds me of Elizabeth George, high praise indeed.
L.S.
Sep 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a detective novel with a difference. There are some decidedly British phrases that sum up the dilemmas of the characters to perfection - and brought a smile to my face. Yet, the story itself is a corker too. Each suspect is drawn with warts included. Illegal shenanigans and unlikely affairs are thrown into the mix as the detectives investigate them. Zig Batten comes to life both through his actions and his internal monologues.
A very solid mystery, realistic characters and great wit. I lo
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Carole-Ann
Suffice it to say I found the numerous characters too many to focus on; the MC was not remotely likeable; and the profusion of English idioms, slang, dialects, and pretentiousness was too much for me. All this within the first 14 chapters.

A police procedural in Somerset (UK) should have interested me. But, because of the reasons stated above, I'm not bothering to continue.

John Constable
Sep 28, 2015 rated it it was ok
Too confusing, too many characters, too long.
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Paul Toolan is a Northerner who now cheerfully admits being a southern softie living in the West of England. After a successful career in Colleges and Universities he wrote book/lyrics for musicals before ‘turning to crime’.
A Killing Tree and A January Killing are the first novels in a series featuring Inspector Zig Batten and the cider-country settings of Somerset.
Book 3 in the series, An Easte
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Other books in the series

D. I. Zig Batten (2 books)
  • A January Killing
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