“He looked around to see Elizabeth Martin herself eyeing him. She was a woman in her mid-fifties, with grey-flecked blond hair and a passion for knitwear. Skirt, top, scarf; all knitted. Even her boots had a roll-over top that looked knitted too. Beach holidays must be tricky.”
When a student in one of the myriad student houses in Cambridge is found dead after a quiet weekend, suicide is the obvious verdict; particularly given the assortment of substances lying around her she could have used to overdose. When DC Goodhew meets her housemate Libby, whose two older siblings also committed suicide, he’s not so sure about this one any more. Could there be a terrible theme connecting the unusually high number of accidental deaths recently?
This took a little while to get going but I was absolutely gripped once it did. The “cold open” scenes were too disjointed and took a long time to fit into the rest of the story; then Libby seems to have a long Facebook conversation with a dead girl. After 25 pages I was quite disappointed, thinking this crime noir was just teenage witterings that didn’t make any sense. DCs Goodhew and Gully to the rescue.
Goodhew is a great police character – stubborn, prepared to bend the rules a little bit to get to the truth, passionately determined to hunt down the killer, particularly when on suspension, but underneath everything just a really good person. I’d point the “this character is too good to be a human” finger at him if he wasn’t so stubborn. And Gully is a sweetie with a core of steel; too embarrassed to experience actual emotion in the context of other humans, as soon as someone else is threatened, she’s in there sorting it out with nary a thought for her own safety. More please.
Plotwise, this simmered along at just the right level for most of the book; as I said, it took a while to get going, and then the bodies really piled up at the end. That might have been me reading faster and faster though as I got to the dramatic climax. Murder weapon of choice was unusual (always good), and Bruce clearly knows Cambridge inside-out and gave us a very strong local grip on events.
A solid, enjoyable thriller – I’d love to read more by Bruce, particularly if it involves Goodhew and Gully!
Copy from Ellie of Curiosity Killed the Bookworm for a guest review.
Publisher: Constable, 292 pages (hardback)
Order The Silence from Amazon*
* this is an affiliate link – I will be paid a small percentage of your purchase price if you use this link, which goes towards give-aways and site hosting