The story opens with the apparently accidental drowning of a sixth form student in the Norfolk countryside. As a matter of routine, or so it seems, the case passes across the desk of Detective Sergeant Smith, recently returned to work after an internal investigation into another case that has led to tensions between officers at Kings Lake police headquarters. As an ex-DCI, Smith could have retired by now, and it is clear that some of his superiors wish that he would do so. The latest trainee detective to work with him is the son of a member of his former team, and together they begin to unravel the truth about what happened to Wayne Fletcher. As the investigation proceeds, it becomes clear that others are involved - some seem determined to prevent it, some seem to be taking too much interest. In the end, Smith operates alone, having stepped too far outside standard procedures to ask for support. He knows that his own life might be at risk but he has not calculated on the life of his young assistant also being put in danger.
©2013 Peter Grainger (P)2016 Tantor
A man with a child in his ears.
Well I have just spent a pleasant few hours in the company of the oddly-named DC “DC Smith”, an interesting choice of initials for a detective constable if ever there was one. This is Frost rebooted, a gumpy old curmudgeon but with more of a human side and a considerably beefier background. There is a young protégé to add to the mix and as crime fiction so often has it the usual mix of doubting senior officers, competitive colleagues and local characters.
It would be wrong to write this one off as just another cliché though. The writing is clever and the characters are engaging. What this book also proves is that you can write a good crime novel without killing off half the local population and incorporating the worst of crimes. The central incident of this novel is an almost mundane seeming accidental drowning of a local teenager that is almost but not quite closed as just that rather than being properly investigated.
The narration by Gildart Jackson seems to fit these character to a tee. It’s not the most energetic of performances but it does breathe genuine life into the lead character. The story itself does develop significantly from its humble beginnings and the mental leap to the end from the starting mundane incident is a big one. The back story of DC Smith is also gradually revealed and he does surprise us with being quite a bit more than just another old cantankerous detective on the verge of retirement.
I liked it despite its brevity.
Just the sort of book I like. A bit of tension at times but with no graphical horror. A really good story that just flows and is clearly narrated. Can't be better than that!
"An Accidental Read"
Just happened on this first in a series and had no expectations when I started reading. A very satisfying read. The primary character, DC Smith is someone I am looking forward to getting to know better. While there is still a great deal of back story to fill in, this relatively short book introduces a complex hero who takes the form of a somewhat shabby, bumbling detective, well past his prime, whom everyone hopes will retire - immediately. I was very impressed with the character development, especially the use of the grown child of an ex-partner, someone Smith first knew as a very little boy, to illustrate just how long he has been around, yet how relevant he still is.
And as usual my favorite aspect of this British police procedural suspense novel is that a wonderful mystery is presented and then solved with very little violence and with no guns. So many US mystery writers have replaced plot with gratuitous and graphic violence and endless gun battles that do nothing to move the story forward.
I thought the narrator did an excellent job!
"Enter the detective"
One of the better ones, with a great story, nice changes in points of view, and a narrator who makes it all work well.
The Armand Gamache novels by Louise Penney. Being American, I enjoy NOT reading about car chases, how big the gun is and how many rounds were fired. I want a character I can admire, and stories that could happen to someone.
Many good scenes, but the one that stands out to me at the moment is when Smith meets with the Superintendent and purposely misunderstands the "retirement" talk!
Smith remembering his late wife while deciding what music to listen to one evening.
I have read all the books out so far, and still wanted to get the audio version so I could enjoy the story again while commuting to work.
"Excellent British Mystery"
Peter Grainger is a wonderful writer. His primary character. Detective Sergeant DS Smith is an older, former Detective Chief Inspector who now works to solve cases rather than supervise. He is interesting, smart, multi-faceted, and his interactions with his subordinate team members provide a window into his character. He's honest and a gentleman, with a unique way of looking at crimes.
I have actually read all 5 of Mr. Granger's books in this series. As with a number of other authors whose books I enjoy enough to read multiple times (Agatha Christie, PD James, Josephine Tey, Dick Francis, Jodi Taylor, Patricia Wentworth and others), I will buy his audiobooks as they become available and listen when I can't read. An excellent narrator makes for great company.
Gildart Jackson is a good choice as narrator. As everyone knows, the narrator can ruin an excellent book but that won't happen here.
For those who like classic British mysteries, I highly recommend this writer.
"Cozy mystery with great characters."
I hope Audible gets more DC Smith books. He reminds me of Penny's Gamache series. Really enjoyable. In fact, I didn't want it to end. Narration was stellar.
"An enjoyable listen"
I really enjoyed this book. The narrator was just right, and I loved DC Smith's dry sense of humour. I hope audible gets the rest of the books in this series. Nice change of pace.
"yes, a 5"
It's British, present day, police procedural, fine characters, unusual plot, surprise conclusion, intelligent and cohesive, violence free. There are more books in this series. I hope more find their way to the Audible holdins. Soon,
"More of this series, Please"
I don't know.
It kept me engaged and convinced me to order the second book before I'd finished the first.
The performer is clear, distinguishes the characters well, and is generally unobtrusive.
Please acquire the other books in the series.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.