LJ's Reviews > An Unhallowed Grave

An Unhallowed Grave by Kate Ellis
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's review
Sep 08, 2010

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bookshelves: archaeology, contemporary_post_1945, england, male_author, mystery, police_procedural
Read in August, 2010

First Sentence: The girl looked out of the window.

Pauline Brent, a nice middle-aged lady about whom no-one speaks badly, is receptionist to the local doctor. She is also found hanged from a tree in the churchyard. A local archeological dig turns up a 500-year-old skeleton of a woman who was also hanged. Can clues from one case help solve the other?

I know; it’s an older book. Being one who prefers to read a series in order, I finally found this third book in the Wesley Peterson series.

That said, I feel their being touted as “A Wesley Peterson Crime Novel” is something of a misnomer. To me, Ellis has created very much of an ensemble cast with my personal favorite being DI Gerry Heffernan, Wesley’s boss with his wisdom and humor.

Ellis has done such of good job of making her characters real, I feel invested in their lives almost as if I were watching a series—who will find a girlfriend, who will get promoted, will a certain marriage last—because the characters’ lives progress with each book. It’s not an easy trick for an author to manage.

The reason the books marketing of the books is focused on Wesley is that he is the link to the second thread in the stories, which is the archeological and historical mystery. I am fascinated by English history and cannot imagine the thrill of discovering something hundreds of years old. Ellis conveys that excitement to the reader, educating and skillfully linking the present and the past. Occasionally, she I feel it unlikely a character wouldn’t know a bit of information being related, but it’s necessary to the story that the reader understand.

The dialogue could have been better. It’s not bad, but it doesn’t completely flow. The plot was constructed with an unexpected revelation. The climax was a bit abrupt and partly offstage, but final ending was very satisfying.

This is a traditional police procedural without graphic violence but with excellent characters, and a bit of history. It is a series I recommend reading from the beginning, which means you have quite a bit of good reading ahead of you as the 15th book in this series is due out next year.

AN UNHALLOWED GRAVE (Pol Proc-Wesley Peterson-England-Cont) – G+
Ellis, Kate – 3nd in series
Thomas Dunn Books, ©1999, US Hardcover – ISBN: 0312274602

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