The Flesh Tailor by Kate Ellis

The Flesh Tailor by Kate Ellis
Publisher: Piatkus
Genre: Contemporary, Historical, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

When Dr James Dalcott is shot dead in his cottage it looks very much like an execution. And as DI Wesley Peterson begins piecing together the victim’s life, he finds that the well-liked country doctor has been harbouring strange and dramatic family secrets.

Meanwhile, archaeologist Neil Watson has discovered a number of skeletons in nearby Tailors Court that bear marks of dissection and might be linked to tales of body snatching by a rogue physician in the sixteenth century. But when Neil finds the bones of a child buried with a 1930s coin, the investigation takes a sinister turn.

Who were the children evacuated to Tailors Court during World War II? And where are they now? When a link is established between the wartime evacuees and Dr Dalcott’s death, Wesley is faced with his most challenging case yet.

DI Wesley Peterson and his team are called in to investigate when a local doctor is found shot in the front door of his cottage in what looks very much like an execution-style murder. As they look deeper into the doctor they find his family history isn’t as straightforward as one would expect. Archeologist Neil Watson is also called in when two skeletons are found by a local wanting to renovate his newly purchased piece of land. What starts with two bodies quickly grown into half a dozen and one of those is the body of a small child seemingly from the 1930s. Can Wesley and Neil each uncover what’s really going on?

I was quite pleased with this book and found even though it’s right in the middle of the series readers should feel comfortable picking this up and knowing they can enjoy a well-plotted British police procedural style of mystery with a good element of archaeology woven into it as well. While I do admit the main characters and the police team in particular have a lot of threads and history connecting them together from the previous books in the series I didn’t feel there was anything that occurred which would leave readers picking up this book along would find too confusing. The two main plots are very well contained within this book alone and I believe it can be enjoyed by itself.

That said, I also did feel a little as if nothing too unique or fresh was brought into the book. While I thoroughly enjoy the fact the police procedural aspect to the mystery is well balanced with Neil’s archaeology this books felt a little bit like a “filler” style of book to me. To my mind, no real character progress was made in the police team, and nothing much occurred in any longer running story arcs so when I’d finished I felt thoroughly satisfied by the two mystery plotlines, but felt as though nothing really had been achieved by this book itself.

Readers looking for an interesting and enjoyable murder mystery – especially those who like a bit of something different like what I found with the archaeology aspect to the plot – should find this a good read and well worth the investment. In particular this might be a good book for readers not previously exposed to the series to try and find if they like the author’s style and whether this is a longer running series they might enjoy.

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