First Sentence: She had no idea how long she had been walking, though such light as there was had begun fading into an ominous twilight.
DI Marjory Fleming is back from suspension and finds tension within her team. A major rainstorm has caused a landslide onto Rosscarron Cottages. One of the tenants has a past she'd rather keep hidden but it's difficult since the cottages are on the land of wealthy Gillis Crozier, whose family is directly involved in her past. What starts as a trip to the area by DI Fleming and her 1st officer Sgt. Tam MacNee, nearly costs them their lives and leads them to the investigation of a murder.
Ms. Templeton excels at capturing the reader with a very dramatic opening even though, at that point, you don't know the characters, their background or relationship to the story. That's a sign of effective writing. It sets the tone for a story that is dramatic and tense, which is maintained throughout the story.
There is such a strong sense of place established by detailed descriptions that it becomes another character in the book. Yet it is the characters that drive the story. Readers new to the series are introduced to Marge and Tam with their backgrounds and relationship, as well as to the other characters. Even those characters who are not likable are made real, alive and, in many cases, sympathetic to us.
The plot is complicated. It is rather hard to follow, in the beginning; similar to a jigsaw puzzle tumbled out on a table with a finished picture being provided. But piece by piece, the bits are brought together and Templeton allows the image to emerge. Along with the plot, comes effectively conveyed, strong emotion, secrets being kept, the devastation of one who is innocent being thought guilty, the malice of real sociopathy, and a very good plot twist.
What is not here is Templeton's trademark wry humor, aside from a reference to "Lord of the Rings." While I missed it, I also understood it as it would not have worked with this particularly story. Good for her.
Templeton is an excellent writer who deserves a much wider audience.
CRADLE TO GRAVE (Pol Proc-DI Marjory Fleming-Scotland-Cont) - VG
Templeton, Aline - 6th in series
Hodder, ©2011, UK Paperback - ISBN: 9780340976999