Title: Murder On The Oxford Canal by Faith Martin
Publisher: Joffe Books
MURDER ON THE OXFORD CANAL is the first in a series of page-turning crime thrillers set in Oxfordshire.
Perfect for fans of Agatha Christie, Colin Dexter, or Ruth Rendell.
The Oxford Canal meanders through the beautiful county of Oxfordshire, sometimes joining up with the rivers Cherwell and Thames, and flows past the world-famous university city of Oxford. Unlike many canals which are practically ruler-straight commercial waterways, built to help transport goods and heavy traffic before the advent of the railways, the Oxford Canal is a more winding and natural-looking body of water, and is a haven for wildlife and wildflowers. It has several romantically-named locks on its length (such as the Three Pigeons Lock, and Dashwood Lock) and boasts the ominously-sounding Somerton Deep Lock, which often terrifies first-time boating holiday-makers.
DI Hillary Greene
An attractive woman in her forties, Hillary Greene is a police officer of many years’ experience, and came up through the ranks. Consequently, she knows how the system works, and is fiercely loyal to the force without being blinkered to its faults. She is a long-standing friend of her immediate superior officer, ‘Mellow’ Mallow and enjoys a rather enigmatic relationship with the steely Superintendent Marcus Donleavy. Popular with the rank and file for her no-nonsense attitude and competence, she is currently under investigation, on account of her recently deceased, and definitely corrupt husband (Ronnie Greene). But adversity has never stopped her from doing her job.
DCI Philip ‘Mellow’ Mallow
Mel appreciates Hillary’s first-rate ability to solve her cases, and isn’t happy about her harassment by the officers from York. Known for his sartorial elegance and laid-back manners, he has a sharp mind, and an eye for the ladies. A good friend and ally for Hillary in her recent tribulations, he’s determined to keep his best investigator focused on the problems at hand.
First off I’d like to thank Jill Burkinshaw organising this blog tour.
I’m a huge fan of Inspector Morse so I’m fairly familiar with the Oxford setting, and when I got offered a chance to read another series set in Oxfordshire I jumped at the chance.
The story opens with DI Hillary Green being investigated by a pair of detectives known as the ‘Yorkie bars’ in the wake of the death of her ex husband who was revealed to be a dodgy policeman.
She is thrown into a suspicious death at a lock, the victim is quickly linked to a local drug dealer and all round bad guy Luke Fletcher. She has to deal with DS Frank Ross who openly dislikes her, and a boss who wants the glory for himself.
This book is an enjoyable police procedural. I liked the character of Hilary who’s a great policewoman but her personal life is a bit of a mess. She thinks needs to lose weight, she lives on a canal boat and has the hanging shadow of her dead husband hanging over her.
The author has an unusual writing style. Each chapter contains multiple viewpoints, not just Hilary but the other police officers too. I personally found this style easy to read but I can see that some readers may find it confusing.
If I had any complaints it would be the fact that this felt like the second in a series not the first, I just felt like I’d missed something. It mentions her ex-husband has died but it doesn’t say how, did he have a heart attack or was he murdered or even in a traffic accident? How did they find out he was dodgy? I just felt like this should have been explored a bit more.