26 December 2014

A review of Julius Falconer Series: ‘A Time to Prey’

Here is another gripping page-turner from a master storyteller. The chapters simply roll by, as you follow ace sleuth, Detective Inspector Wickfield and Sergeant Hewitt, through a myriad of possible theories about a fatality: each one having to be diligently considered, before filing, and moving on to the next.
The story breaks with the sudden death of the Bishop of Worcester in 1966. His body being found in his official castle study, with the doors and windows locked from the inside.
It could have been a perfectly straightforward accident and to another, less efficient and inexperienced officer, it might have been, but Wickfield is immediately suspicious; something doesn’t smell right. Looking around the room he sees things that others might have missed, and like a dog with a bone he gnaws and nags away at the problem, leaving no stone unturned until he’s interviewed everyone with the slightest connection to the high churchman.
In a few short days following the death, and together with his sergeant, Wickfield digs deeply (with highly personal questions) into private lives, searching for a cunning murderer, one who wanders abroad at the dead of night.
Gradually, armed with forensic information and by a process of methodical elimination, the policemen piece together a timeline, a significant window of opportunity for the crime, coming up with startling results.
We are treated to an insight into the workings of the Anglican church, ancient saints and relics and a woman who dabbles in Wicca (a pagan religion) plenty of fishy red herrings, all tied up in a classic, locked door mystery. As in so many of his cases, it is a chance remark from Inspector Wickfield’s wife Beth, which helps to cut through the darkness, and cast a bright light on the killer.  
You couldn’t wish for more, except perhaps to feast on the next one!
Harry Riley
Paperback | Waterstones | Amazon UK