An Old, Cold Grave (A Lane Winslow Mystery)
By Iona Whishaw
Rating 4.5/5 Stairs
Don’t miss out on your chance to win a copy of this book! Giveaway: Enter to win a copy of An Old, Cold Grave. Contest runs through 25 October 2017.
It’s 1947 in the small community of King’s Cove, and Ms. Whishaw wastes no time getting the mystery started. In the first chapter, Gwen Hughes is in the root cellar, and notices part of the sod roof has fallen in. As she inspects the damage, she finds an unexpected (and unwanted) surprise – bones. A child had been buried in the roof of their root cellar.
Lane Winslow (a relatively new resident to King’s Cove) and Inspector Darling are quickly summoned to the scene. Lane’s curiosity is piqued – who do the bones belong to and how long have they been there? Inspector Darling has his hands full with another case, and asks Lane if she might do some digging with the locals to identify who the bones might belong to.
As Lane asks questions, long forgotten secrets begin to surface. Will she be able to uncover the truth?
While this is the third book in the Lane Winslow series, new readers (like myself) won’t have a problem jumping in to this installment.
What Worked For Me
First of all – how gorgeous is that cover?!
There are so many elements of this book that I enjoyed. The historical setting was perfect, with Ms. Winslow bringing the reader into 1947. (I especially appreciated the detail of the simple act of Lane answering a telephone, waiting to make sure it was her ring.) The rural setting adds to the historical charm.
Lane Winslow is a strong, independent woman. She may not be an official “detective” by profession (she’s an ex-British intelligent officer), but in many ways she reminds me of Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs. Lane is smart and sympathetic, and determined to solve this mystery.
Not only is this a historical mystery, but it’s also a cold case. This unknown child was buried over 35 years ago. Lane spends time learning about life in King’s Cove in the early 1900’s, as well as getting to know more about the local residents. Lane takes time to explore the area and learn about the homesteaders who struggled to make a life there. Ms. Whishaw flips the narrative between the current 1947 timeline and events in the 1910’s to tell the story.
Regular visitors to Hidden Staircase probably know by now that the local characters in a series are important to me, and King’s Cove delivers. The locals are likable, down-to-earth people, who have lived in King’s Cove for decades. A younger American family with lively children is mentioned, but they are away traveling for this installment. It sounds like they are prominent in the earlier books in this series. I also really enjoyed Inspector Darling and his interactions with both Lane and Constable Ames.
What Didn’t Work
The only piece that didn’t really work for me was Inspector Darling’s other case, which involved a teenage girl suspected of some damage to a local mill. It’s not that I didn’t like it per se, but for me it just didn’t work as well with the main mystery.
Overall, a satisfying historical mystery featuring a strong female protagonist. I can’t wait to catch up on this series.
Don’t forget to enter! Giveaway: Enter to win a copy of An Old, Cold Grave. Contest runs through 25 October 2017.
Many thanks to TouchWood Editions for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.