The book starts with an unknown man that comes into the church of father Fitzpatrick in rural south Devon. The stranger tells him that he was responsible for a murder and that it’s going to happen again because he can’t stop it. The worried priest contacts his brother-in-law Wesley Peterson who’s a DI. But without any other information, there’s nothing that can be done.
After a storm with heavy rains, a tree falls at the farm of DS Rachel Tracy’s parents and they find a body of a young woman that was buried underneath. It turns out to be that of a hitch-hiker that went missing 12 years earlier.
In the same area stands a restored wool mill that’s owned by the couple from the local B&B. Both are said to be haunted. This couple organises a ‘ghost’ weekend with a real, famous psychic attending. This TV-celebrity has an actual affinity with the supernatural and the deceased, something that’s not always a blessing. But if there’s no sign of the dead, he’s not averse to smoke and mirrors. One of the guests at the weekend happens to be the best friend and neighbour of the hitchhiker and she has a box with old photo’ from the area.

The story is regularly interrupted by excerpts from the diary of Dr Cruikshank from 1882 where he describes life in the town and district back then. There was a lot of death at that time and burials were very expensive. So, they came up with burial circles where each member put in a little amount each week and when someone dies they cover the costs of the funeral. But to our modern eyes, it looks as if several suspicious deaths occurred back then.
The author mentions several supernatural events and talents; ghosts, seeing and feeling entities, receiving vibes. But it never gets ridiculous. There's no ghost in this book that solves the crimes. All things mentioned in that particular field are well researched and plausible. You can laugh if you want but I do think there’s more between heaven and earth than we see and notice. TV-shows like ghost hunters proved their existence multiple times. As these phenomena exist, it’s logical that some people have a higher affinity with these things than others.
It’s amazing how many book- and TV- policemen don’t seek or even refuse a promotion because they dislike paperwork. I wonder if real-life cops feel the same way but I think that most of them will welcome a pay raise and take the paper-pushing with it.
There’s a lot of name changing and deceit going on in this story. Sometimes it became hard to follow the narrative and keep up with the characters and their whereabouts. There are also a lot of people that die or get murdered when their partner is away somewhere, in the present but also in 1882.
The constant switching between character’s POV and the different storylines was annoying in this book. I don’t know why as I usually don’t have a problem with it but here it happens sometimes after just 1 paragraph. Just when you want to settle into the story, they’re already gone. It’s for the same reason that I can’t relate to any of the characters, they feel a bit flat. I think it would have been better for the flow of the story if several of those tiny fragments would be combined into a longer thread instead of jumping right, left, and centre.
You know that this book is part of a series due to the amount and the nature of relations between the various characters. This is not a problem as there’s little reference to earlier cases so you don’t have to know all of the backstories.
Although Christmas is getting near in this story, I had the feeling that they have the same dreary and wet weather I’ve been ‘enjoying’ lately.
Hitchhiking gets badmouthed in this book but it shouldn’t be seen as an invitation for violation and it’s certainly not the victim’s that should be blamed. Despite my name, I’m female and when I was younger I travelled all over Europe in this manner and hardly ever met with a problematic driver. Unfortunately, society has changed. When I was 13 or so and started to hitchhike with my brothers, my parents thought it was a neat way to see the area where we spent our holidays and I kept doing it till well into my 30’s. It was an acceptable way to get from A to B in those days. I hereby thank all of those unselfish drivers that helped me out back then and I hope that there remain enough good Samaritans on the road today.
The storyline and the narrative are suspenseful with enough new twists and red herrings that I didn’t have a clue who the murderer was until the very last. I had a theory towards the end (the same one as Wesley had) but that turned out to be wrong as well.
I thank Piatkus and Netgalley for the free ARC they provided and this is my honest and unbiased review of it.

Reacties op: Kept guessing till the end

The Burial Circle - Kate Ellis
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