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Review: Our Lady of Pain, by Elena Forbes

When a well-known London art dealer is found murdered in Holland Park, the members of the Barnes Murder Squad are called in to investigate. The victim, Rachel Tenison, was an introverted young woman who had complicated relationships with her brother and best friend. Later, the squad gets a tip from the journalist that this murder might be connected with the murder of a university lecturer more than a year previously. There are a number of similarities between the two murders: both women were discovered lying in the same position, and both had experimented with S&M. In addition, Rachel was found with an excerpt from a Swinburne poem in her mouth, while Catherine Watson was a Swinburne scholar. I cringe to use the words "police procedural," but that's essentially what this novel is.

The Squad is an eclectic group: there's Sam Donovan, who lives with her sister; Mark Tartaglia, whose sister keeps trying to set him up with her friends; and Simon Turner, who's having marriage problems. Forbes delves into the lives of these detectives, revealing them as more than just detectives on the hunt for a killer. That, to me, was one of the strengths of this book. It's a suspenseful, solid mystery with ends that tie up neatly, although I thought some of the coincidences were, well, a little too coincidental (I don't want to give up too much of the plot here). Forbes writes in succinct, clear prose, and this book is a fast-paced read. Our Lady of Pain is the second book in a series; references are made to the first, Die With Me, throughout.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Our Lady of Pain sounds familiar to The Somnambulist by Barnes (with a supernatural edge to it).
Danielle said…
I've not heard of this author--will check her out!
Iliana said…
I read Die With Me and thought it was a good solid first mystery. I'm curious to check this one out because of the characters mainly. Can I ask why you don't like to use the term police procedural?
Gillian said…
Do you have a galley? I'll make a book trade with you!

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