Tell No Tales by JM Dalgliesh

Tell No Tales by JM Dalgliesh
Publisher: Hamilton Press
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

In a world of lies, one truth remains. Dead men tell no tales…
When the body of an unidentified man is found at the foot of Sheringham cliffs with injuries inconsistent with a fall, DI Tom Janssen must piece together his final days to determine how he fell to his death… or who pushed him…

The investigation quickly reveals a network of locals with ties to the victim, but as for the man himself… he remains something of a mystery. The dead man doesn’t fit in; not with his social circle, not with his business interests and when others come looking for him, the intrigue only deepens.

Joined in the investigation by his new Detective Sergeant, Cassie Knight, Janssen uncovers closely guarded secrets alongside long-held grudges. Any one of them could be a motivation for murder. This man had powerful enemies and even more dangerous friends…

As the inquiry develops it is clear that someone wanted him dead but, a formidable character in his own right, who would dare to take him on? One death threatens to unravel a wider conflict where neither the innocent… or the guilty… can feel truly safe. Janssen must bring down the wall of silence encircling his childhood town, coming up against old antagonists as well as facing new adversaries, or risk an escalation in the violence.

Secrets are kept… Deceit is commonplace… And dead men Tell No Tales…

DI Tom Janssen and his team investigate the questionable death of a man found at the foot of Sheringham cliffs. The more they look into the circumstances, and the man himself, the more questions they have and the deeper the complexities become. Can Tom and his team unravel the knot of powerful people involved in this murky situation?

I have been mostly enjoying this Hidden Norfolk series, but I truly feel this is the best book so far. I think the author is finally hitting his stride with the characters, setting and plot and this book in particular really shines for me. I was ecstatic that Tom’s personal life has finally taken a back seat and there was a lot more focus in this story on the murder mystery and the various subplots revolving around that. I also found it surprising (in a good way) that I didn’t miss the fact that DCI Tamara Greave has a far, far smaller part to play in this story. The strong secondary characters in Eric and Cassie (the other members of Tom’s team) really started to grow and shine and I feel they easily made up for the smaller and more managerial – rather than boots-on-the-ground colleague – part Tamara played in this book.

I also strongly feel readers should feel comfortable picking this book up by itself. While there is absolutely a team dynamic between the officers the plot is very well contained to just this book. I think particularly with such a strong focus on this plot and the police procedural aspect to the solving of the crime readers who haven’t caught the previous installments won’t find themselves lost or trying to work out any of the dynamics or “in” jokes.

With a strong and well-crafted plot and a number of interesting peripheral characters I enjoyed trying to work out which people were involved in the crime, and which just got caught up in it with people’s lives crossing over as they do in smaller communities. I also greatly enjoyed how – for the first time for me – after the police conducted an interview there was a short chapter of what each suspect did/thought directly after the police left. I loved how this gave me as the reader a bit more insight into each character’s motivation, reaction and a small part of the puzzle as to how they fit the growing picture. I really enjoyed this and would love it if this style continues in Dalgliesh’s further books.

With a delightfully layered plotline, some solid police procedural work and a bunch of interesting characters this was a really good mystery book and a highlight for me, personally, so far in this series. I’m very eager to read more.

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