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The Salton Killings

(Chief Inspector Woodend #1)

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  293 ratings  ·  34 reviews
The strangled body of teenager Diane Thornburn is found buried in the salt store in a Cheshire village. Diane's best friend, Margie Poole, knows more than she is prepared to tell. Chief inspector Woodend is drafted in from London to investigate - his inquiry turns up the death of another young girl a generation before, and the similarities in the two cases begin to look li ...more
Paperback, Large Print, 368 pages
Published 1999 by Dales Large Print Books (first published July 1st 1998)
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Average rating 3.63  · 
Rating details
 ·  293 ratings  ·  34 reviews

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First Sentence: The rain, driven by a relentless wind, clawed mercilessly at her face.

Chief Inspector Woodend is sent from London to a village in Cheshire. The strangled body of a teenage girl has been found buried in the salt store. Working with the local police and intuition, Woodend believes the victim’s best friend knows more than she’s saying. He also believes there is a connection to a similar murder a generation earlier.

Who knows why I’ve only just discovered this series, bu
This is the first book in the Inspector Charlie Woodend series, and is set in a small village in Cheshire, England. Chief Inspector Woodend has been sent from London to investigate the murder of a teenage girl, found strangled and buried in a salt storeroom. He's teamed up with a new partner, Sgt. Bob Rutter, who wants to do a good job but is perplexed by Woodend and his manner of investigation. Before too long, they discover that another girl died sixteen years ago, and the manner of death seem ...more
Feb 14, 2014 rated it liked it
A decent enough procedural detective story.

It's really impossible to avoid comparisons when reviewing stuff so if you like the Wexford books by Ruth Rendell, you'll probably like this.

There are a couple of howlers that made me stop in my tracks (there's a really obvious forensic problem with a body that gets found early on - I don't think I'm spoiling the plot to tell you there's a murder ;) ) and a couple of false notes in the prose.

But it's a quick read dete
Feb 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
Chief Inspector Woodend is the main character in this series. This novel revolves around a serial killer that has been around for a while. I love the way it was written. I wouldn't call it a comedy by any means but I did laugh out loud quite a few times. I'm looking forward to reading the whole series.
Maureen Marold
Mar 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought I was going to give only 4 stars but then I read the epilogue, mind blown

I enjoyed this murder mystery and look forward to reading the other books in this series. I recommend this to other murder mystery fans.
Oct 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
A good mystery with an ending I didn't expect.
This was, well, just alright. Quite a clever twist.
Gillian Manson
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed it. And it had an interesting twist at the end. I didn't even have the perpetrator in my sights!

This is my first read of Chief Inspector Woodend books.

I have read a few of the Blackstone series and I enjoyed them immensely, so I was looking forward to reading a Woodend book.

I love historical crimes the most. Especially set around the World War dates. I am a bit reluctant to read more current crimes series. But I was not disappointed in this in
Catherine Yezak
Mar 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of the best mysteries that I have read in a long time. You never know who the murder is until the very end of the book, though you are given three suspects and enough evidence to believe it is any one of them. This is a true arm chair mystery. Agatha Christie would be proud.
Laura Steinert
Oct 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Okay, maybe not amazing--but I did totally miss two major clues. I just read right over them even though I know I have to pay attention to everything Woodend is told. I felt as stupid as the village bobby. Nicely written, focused, good characters.
Deborah Riccio
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The start of a great series!

What a great story, with a twist you will never see coming! Looking forward to the rest of this series.
Sanford Field
Apr 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the book and it was a quick read. I like the main character Chief Inspector Woodend. Probably read Sally Spencer again.
Marie (UK)
an easy read with likeable characters
Aug 07, 2017 rated it liked it
A good old-fashioned who-dun-it set in a small English village in 1958.
Ginny W. Flowers
May 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A real mystery with a great ending.

I really enjoyed the characters. They were fully developed and interesting as was the plot. Bet you can’t guess who did it.
Apr 24, 2019 rated it liked it
A typical beach type easy read and nothing taxing. Have now read a few more in this series and they are typical of the genre
Cindy Wade
Aug 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
A good mystery with an unexpected ending. I will definitely be reading the next book in this series.
This was a quick read. The characters and, more importantly in my opinion, the relationships among them, were well-written. There were just enough characters to keep it interesting, but not too many to keep track of. The story progressed at an even, comfortable pace without seeming fragmented or choppy. I like that the upper echelons of the force were largely kept out of the story, so we did not have to deal with the usual modern concerns of press, politics, budgets and the like. (This was more ...more
Jan 05, 2016 rated it liked it
Don't know how I missed this book in the series, but now I've read it.

The first case of Woodend and Rutter, set in Cheshire.

A young girl is murdered. Is there a link between this case and another one from years earlier?

Charlie teaches Bob that there is more to police work than book learning; the pschycology of the people involved also matters. You have to get out in the environment of the killer, find out how lives connect to discover the clue that will solve
May 25, 2013 rated it liked it
This is the first book written by Sally Spencer that I've read. It wasn't the most suspenseful novel, yet I was surprised by the identity of the killer. That in itself was enough to convince me the book deserves at least three stars. I did not find myself fully appreciating the main detective character, but at the same time, I am curious about whether he becomes more realistic as the author gets to know him better in subsequent stories. For that reason and the killer identity surprise, I'm willi ...more
Jul 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Chief Inspector Woodend is sent to a small village when the body of a young girl is discovered. He is working with a small team of local policemen to try to discover the reason this girl was killed. Using his old-fashioned methods he discovers many hidden secrets and the usual list of suspects. When it looks like there were other suspicious deaths in the past, the investigation becomes more urgent in order to possibly prevent the death of another young girl.
Marilyn Shea
Jan 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Finally, I located this book, the first of the Inspector Woodend series, and I enjoyed it. I have read some of the DCI Monika Paniatowski books in which she mentions Chief Inspector Woodend, her mentor. I think I'll try to read the Woodend series in order. It ought to take a while. There are 20 of them. And now I need to chase down the prequel book to the series, Fatal Quest.
Marina Sinelnikova
Jun 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
A nice and comfortable read - sympathetic characters, plot that kept me interested. I was surprised by the identity of the killer though this did make sense (though I think the epilogue was overdoing it).
Aug 18, 2016 rated it liked it
Enjoyable police procedural set in the 50's.
Caroline Ingvaldsen
Oct 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
First in a well-plotted police procedural series set in Great Britain in the fifties: casually racist comments may be politically incorrect but are period appropiate.
Nov 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
I really didn't figure out whodunit--but the irony at the very end did not surprise me (don't think it was meant to--meant to confirm one's worst suspicions).
Dec 20, 2014 rated it liked it
the chief inspector is an interesting, but rather predictable character. don't think i;ll read any more of these.
Oct 02, 2011 rated it it was ok
some good things about Charlie Woodend. Ok mystery. This series is only good at the beginning
Bionic Jean
One-day read. Entertaining enough mystery, but dated.
Dec 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Classic Woodend. He is a real oddball.
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A pseudonym used by Alan Rustage.
Sally Spencer is a pen name, first adopted when the author (actually called Alan Rustage) was writing sagas and it was almost obligatory that a woman's name appeared on the cover (other authors like Emma Blair and Mary Jane Staples are also men).

Before becoming a full-time writer, he was a teacher. In 1978-79 he was working in Iran and witnessed the fall of

Other books in the series

Chief Inspector Woodend (1 - 10 of 20 books)
  • Murder at Swann's Lake (Chief Inspector Woodend, #2)
  • Death of a Cave Dweller (Chief Inspector Woodend, #3)
  • The Dark Lady (Chief Inspector Woodend, #4)
  • The Golden Mile to Murder (Chief Inspector Woodend, #5)
  • Dead on Cue (Chief Inspector Woodend, #6)
  • The Red Herring (Chief Inspector Woodend, #7)
  • Death of an Innocent (Chief Inspector Woodend, #8)
  • The Enemy Within (Chief Inspector Woodend, #9)
  • A Death Left Hanging (Chief Inspector Woodend, #10)
  • The Witch Maker (Chief Inspector Woodend, #11)