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

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  732 Ratings  ·  79 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 th
Paperback, 352 pages
Published February 5th 2009 by Penguin (first published 2008)
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Community Reviews

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Aug 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 14, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Marilyn F
Apr 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Might have given a 3.5 or 3.75 if I could ... I did think it was a good mystery, even if it lost me there once or twice, lol, and the characters were fairly interesting. And set in the cold so probably a good one for when you're laying hot on the beach.
Comincio a pensare che se non ci fossi io ad abbassare la media delle stellette, su Goodreads tutti i libri sarebbero da 10 e lode. :-D
Persino questo “giallo” che propone paragoni di questo tenore:

La neve cadeva a Burnham Market come tante vecchie banconote candide da cinque sterline

Avrei anche potuto capire il contrario, ossia che una manciata di banconote lanciata da un balcone ricordasse la neve. Ma che la neve faccia venire in mente le banconote, mi pare un’idea che sarebbe potuta venire s
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
May 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
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
Jul 05, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
Dec 09, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, mystery
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.
Mar 10, 2012 rated it it was ok
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.
Reggie Billingsworth
May 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Jim Kelly continues as a marvel at precise and pithy imagery, on top of the fascinating plots and unique base set of characters with which he peoples his Norfolk broads universe.

This title proved my belief in just letting a master do what he does best, even if you have no clue how the hell the writer is going to get out of the self-constructed conundrum. This was a fiendishly complex puzzle with a nicely controlled number of characters and layer upon layer of reveal. If a 5.5 rating was availabl
Larry Piper
My friend, Angela, who got me into playing flutes in church some twenty years ago, but whom I've not seen in a number of years, recommended this to me. I'd been commenting (of FaceBook) to someone else from church about the audio book series that were so popular with the two women who ring handbells next to me (the Inspector Gamache series by Louise Penny). For some reason, Angela jumped into the thread and recommended this series to me, albeit a readable series. I don't do audio books yet. I do ...more
Mar 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is the first book in a new series by Jim Kelly whose books I have enjoyed in the past. This is a police procedural set in King's Lynn, Norfolk and is based on a tremendous set up; a series of cars are trapped by a tree fall in the midst of a blizzard and there is a body. What follows is an excellent who-dun-it and why, with twists, turns and red herrings and a series of intriguing characters, including the twin series protagonists, who have their own history and a cold case with personal co ...more
Dec 31, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, used-to-own
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
"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
Nov 30, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013-reads
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
May 15, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Erik Ryman
Aug 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Shonna Froebel
Nov 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Harvey Ellis is found dead in his truck after being stuck in a snow storm when I tree is blocking the road. It seems the killer has managed to strike without being seen and without leaving footprints. The people in the vehicles stuck behind him all agree that they were diverted along that particular road by means of an AA diversion sign and yet the sign seems to have disappeared.

What follows is a frustrating investigation for DI Peter Shaw and DS George Valentine who are endeavouring to work tog
Nov 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
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
Aug 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Ron Chicaferro
Dec 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 02, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Aug 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
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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 (7 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  (DI Peter Shaw & DS George Valentine #5)
  • Death on Demand (DI Peter Shaw & DS George Valentine # 6)
  • Death Ship

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