Confessional (2016) by Robert Innes

After solving an impossible shooting in Untouchable, Detective Inspector Blake Harte finds another impossible murder to keep him busy in the village of Harmschapel.

The confessional booth in the Catholic church in the village is proving to be something of a death trap. Over the past few months, three people have dropped dead of a heart attack in said booth. It had been written off, as all three victims were old, but when a fit healthy young man suffers the same fate, it seems that a murderer is on the loose. A murderer who can kill without a touch.

If you recall, I enjoyed Untouchable, but the solution to the murder let the whole book a lot. The motivations of the murderer were interesting, and I was determined to come back for more. Well, here I am, and…

… well, this again isn’t perfect, but again, I think I’ll be back for more.

The central cast is good, although I have to wonder if the village police station is somewhat overstaffed. Yes, Harmschapel does seem to be a murder magnet, but this is a village! Anyway, let’s turn a blind eye to that, as the relationships between the characters is well done, and the typical “you took my job, you newcomer” character is actually rather fun.

As for the mystery – well, if you can’t spot the killer, you haven’t read as many mysteries as me. To be fair, you probably haven’t, but the explanation for the final death is excellent. The explanation for the others… well, less so, with problems with the timing, the targeting and basically, not being seen doing it!

But as I said, this is a fun quick read, and I’ll be back for more. I hear very good things about the next one…

10 comments

      • There is a romantic subplot, certainly, but it does not subsume or distract from the detective story. I suppose someone who is offended by homosexuality for whatever reason might see more significance to this aspect. The way homosexuality is presented as simply a matter of fact is one of the things that impresses me about the series.

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  1. This is the one with the woman priest, isn’t it? Much of the story makes no sense whatsoever in light of Innes’ lack of knowledge about Catholic and Church of England rites and dogma. The entire solution is flawed. The ending could never happen in fact! The priest does not do something with the wine that ALWAYS happens in every Mass. But for Innes’ purposes it conveniently does not happen and the entire story collapses into absurdity. Other fundamental problems crop up throughout the story all related to his ignorance of Church law. One or two are forgivable, but this book is like reading a fantasy. It’s a junk mystery that would never be accepted by any reputable publisher. This is why he’s relegated to the world of self-publishing. He loses all credibility with me and I’ve never bothered reading any of his other novellas though I bought four of them. Read only the first two and then gave all four away (two unread) to a thrift store.

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  2. I decided to read Ripples since some bloggers have raved about it .I skipped the homosexual romance stuff and hence I finished it quickly. I found the solution seriously flawed that will never work.Whatever Prettysinister has said about Confessions apply to Ripples also. A junk mystery !

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