Charley Mann has just arrived back in Yorkshire after a few years in London. The difference is that she has come back to be in charge – as a Detective Inspector in her home town. She knows that she must conquer her memories and any prejudice against a woman running major crime investigation, especially as on her first day back there is the discovery of a body in highly suspicious circumstances. In this highly charged novel Charley knows that she must rely on herself to survive and run a police operation that would be daunting in any circumstances. Throughout this well balanced novel the reader learns so much about Charley’s past and her family’s place in the district. Her love of the horses that she rides reminds her of a past loss; she proves knowledgeable about the local area which is a decided advantage in the circumstances of her first investigation.
This novel, as with Bridgestock’s other books, shows a deep and experienced knowledge of police procedure. No object, sample, photograph is ignored or brushed aside, there is an explanation for the meticulous keeping of records in terms of future defence of any the suspects. This methodical book never gets bogged down in procedure however, as the character of Charley burns throughout. I was so pleased to have the opportunity to read and review this latest book by the extremely talented R.C. Bridgestock.
Charley was transferred to London for her training after her initial work in her hometown. After a brief time of rediscovering her past territory and some friends, she goes into her new office only to be greeted by news of a body hanging from a tree in a distant graveyard. As she takes a young constable to the scene, she knows that she is prepared for walking through the rough country, but no one could be prepared for what is found. It is immediately obvious that this was no suicide, but other factors about the scene seem deliberately confusing. As Charley issues instructions to preserve the scene and any other potential pieces of evidence, she rapidly assesses the officers working for her and deals with some of their issues. As more discoveries are made about the victim, different aspects of their lives become apparent.
The maintenance of the suspense throughout this book is masterly, as not only suspects are revealed but also aspects of Charley’s previous life.Her reactions to developments show much about her life, her essential strength, her family background and much more. The rest of the people around also show many unsuspected depths, as well as the gradual revelations as the case is built up. It is far from a cosy mystery, as some of the details of the bodies are quite brutal and very detailed. Having said that, it is always respectfully handled, and carefully written. This is the sort of gripping book which is very hard to put down and it is very well constructed, with many loose ends tied up satisfactorily. I really hope that this is the first in a series of books which features DI Charley Mann, and that a second book appears soon.
I have discovered that Amazon has not got any paperback copies of this book at the moment. So if you would like a copy, the publisher, Dome Books, have a website you can buy it from. See https://www.thedomepress.com/product-page/payback-by-r-c-bridgestock for details.