DS Wesley Peterson, newly arrived in the West Country town of Tradmouth, has his hands full when a child goes missing and a young woman is brutally murdered on a lonely cliff path.
Then his old friend, archaeologist Neil Watson, unearths the skeletons of a woman and a newborn baby in the cellar of an ancient merchant’s house nearby.
As they begin to investigate the murders, Wesley starts to suspect that these deaths, centuries apart, may be linked by age-old motives of jealousy and sexual obsession. And the pressure is on if he is going to prevent a further tragedy . . .
This first book in the DS Wesley Peterson mysteries is introduced with the disappearance of a young child from a garden in the pleasant West Country town to which Wesley has transferred from London. But another detective is investigating that case and Wesley is pleasantly surprised by his easy-going new boss DI Heffernan and helpful colleague DC Rachel Tracey. However, he is soon plunged into a murder case when a body is found near a cliff path.
Wesley is pleased to discover his old friend Neil Watson is working on an archaeological dig on the site of a medieval merchant’s house in the town. As readers we have more knowledge of what happened in the medieval house as we gradually read exerts from the merchant’s diary. Neil had originally been involved with Wesley’s wife Pamela while they were at university but Pamela doesn’t seem keen to socialise with him now perhaps because of the stress she is feeling at her failure to become pregnant. When a child’s body is found in the dig it is a relief to discover that it is the remains of a medieval child. Alongside the investigations made by the police force into the young woman murdered recently, there are clues and red herrings about the whereabouts of the missing child.
I recognised the location of Tradmouth, enjoying descriptions of the policeman’s walks and trips across on the ferry. There are obvious parallels between events in the merchant’s house so many years ago and the tragedy being investigated by the police and also painful feelings aroused by a missing child. The characters of DC Rachel Tracey and DI Heffernan are well rounded, but as yet Wesley Paterson seems to be shadowy. Perhaps the following books of the series will give him more substance. I shall certainly enjoy returning to this pleasant town for another mystery.
The Merchant’s House on Amazon UK
Kate Ellis was born and brought up in Liverpool and she studied drama in Manchester. She worked in teaching, marketing and accountancy before first enjoying writing success as a winner of the North West Playwrights competition. Crime and mystery stories have always fascinated her, as have medieval history and archaeology which she likes to incorporate in her books. She is married with two grown up sons and she lives in North Cheshire, England, with her husband. Kate was awarded the CWA DAGGER IN THE LIBRARY award in 2019.
One thought on “The Merchant’s House by Kate Ellis #TuesdayBookBlog #BookReview”