Serpent’s Point (2022) by Kate Ellis

Serpent’s Point stands on a headland in Devon and has long been the focal point for violence. In Roman times, in the early twentieth century – and in the present day.

Susan Brown has been house-sitting in the area, but when she is found strangled on the path leading to the house, DI Wesley Peterson finds that she had an ulterior motive for being in Devon. It seems she was conducting her own investigation into two separate missing persons cases – but is it possible that someone who she was looking for her found her first? Or did it have something to do with the low-quality film currently being shot at the house?

The discovery of a skeleton in a nearby archaeological dig is far from the only secret at Serpent’s Point that is waiting to uncovered…

Sorry for the lack of posts recently, but The Documents In The Case put me into a coma for a week and it was only Mrs Puzzle Doctor wafting a copy of Serpent’s Point under my nose the other day that revived me. Obviously, not really, but it probably would have worked. And that was a very boring book…

… but enough about lambasting that one again (for now), any book from Kate Ellis would be the ideal thing to lure me back to normality from what actually was going on, namely a shedload of exam result work issues, and, indeed, it was. The Wesley Peterson series is comfort reading for me. It’s far from cosy, as Kate incorporates some very dark themes in the background in some of these titles, but Wesley and his team are such good, reliable company to be in. And Kate is such a masterful plotter, it is rare that I find myself looking in the right direction.

This is a really interesting book, speaking of the plot, as for a good portion of the book, the reader will be very unsure as to which way to look. There almost seems to be a lack of suspects – sorry, make that viable suspects – given that we can guess something about one person that Susan may have been pursuing, yet nobody seems to match that character. Admittedly, once something is mentioned, the reader won’t miss its importance in where a certain thread is going, but that won’t help the armchair sleuth pin down the killer. Add in a beautifully cheeky misdirection, and, as ever, there is a very satisfying denouement.

One thing that makes this book admirable is that it is only on looking back on it that I realised that there weren’t that many… incidents, I suppose the word would be, yet when I was reading it, I simply didn’t notice. Kate, as ever, had me hooked from first page to last and, as ever, I’m already counting the days til her next book.

Many thanks to the publisher, Piatkus, and Kate for the review copy. Serpent’s Point is out now in hardback and ebook. For an index of my reviews of Kate’s books (which I will have hopefully updated by the time you visit it), click here.

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