As part of my efforts to expand the range of my reading selections, I recently picked up a copy of Prime Suspect – a British crime novel by Liz Evans featuring Grace Smith, a former cop turned private investigator.
Synopsis (from Amazon)
When Hannah Conti shows up at Grace Smith’s office, little does the wise-cracking PI know how dark a path her newest case will take her down…
Alison Wynne-Ellis was just sixteen when she was convicted of the brutal stabbing of her teacher Trudy Hepburn, before giving birth to Hannah and putting her up for adoption.
Hannah wants Grace to prove her biological mother’s innocence – for a murder committed twenty years before.
Why did Alison never try to prove her own innocence? Alison may have been the prime suspect, but who else could have wanted quiet, cowardly Trudy Hepburn dead?
Grace starts digging up some dark truths about the pupils of Alison’s old school, while fending off offers of help from an officer who worked on the original case, Declan O’Hara. Grace doesn’t want or need a partner to share her investigation with. But what does O’Hara want, and why is he only trying to help Alison now?
And who is threatening Grace with some very nasty scare tactics as she delves deeper into both Alison and Trudy’s pasts?
With the threats escalating from a rat nailed to the PI’s front door to a near miss with a bullet, will Grace solve Trudy Hepburn’s murder before someone tries to silence her forever?
First, let me say, I usually stick to American writers. Most of the British writers that I have read tend to be more verbose than I like. Not to mention the challenge of learning (almost) another language in the process. This book was a pleasant surprise. The writing was relatively concise and flowed well. Even the British slang that peppered the text was easily understood based on context. The story moved along at a great pace, with interesting twists and turns along the way as Grace tries to determine what really happened twenty years earlier and why. Interesting cast of characters, with comic relief provided by a neurotic parrot named Tallulah. An enjoyable mystery with a side of suspense and a hint of romance thrown in.
This book is a solid standalone mystery. After reading this book, I discovered that it is the 5th Grace Smith Mystery. I haven’t read the others yet, so I guess I will be adding a few more books by this author to my to-be-read list.