A High Mortality Of Doves by Kate Ellis
My own Copy ~ Paperback Book
1919. The Derbyshire village of Wenfield is still reeling from four terrible years of war, and now, just when the village is coming to terms with the loss of so many of its sons, the brutal murder of a young girl shatters its hard-won tranquillity.
Myrtle Bligh is found stabbed and left in woodland, her mouth slit to accommodate a dead dove, a bird of peace.
During the war Myrtle worked as a volunteer nurse with Flora Winsmore, the local doctor’s daughter, caring for badly wounded soldiers at the nearby big house, Tarnhey Court.
When two more women are found murdered in identical circumstances, Inspector Albert Lincoln is sent up from London, a man not only wounded in war but damaged in peace by the death of his young son and his cold, loveless marriage. Once in Wenfield, Albert begins to investigate the three recent murders and the Cartwright family of Tarnhey Court and their staff fall under suspicion as their hidden lives and secrets are uncovered.
With rumours of a ghostly soldier with a painted face being spotted near the scene of the murders, the village is thrown into a state of panic – and with the killer still on the loose, who will be the next to die at the hands of this vicious angel of death?
My Review ~
A High Morality Of Doves is set in the Derbyshire village of Wenfield in 1919. The village is reeling after 4yrs of war. The novel surrounds the cases of murdered females, left on display with a dead dove in their mouths.
With the dove being the symbolic bird of peace, is someone trying to send a bizarre message to the local community? Or to the local police? In steps Inspector Albert Lincoln from London and the Met police, to crack the case.
Local resident Myrtle is lured to the woods via a letter from her dead fiancé Stanley. Myrtle was aware of the telegram notification of his death and even consulted mediums in the local New Mills. But with the letter, also comes hope. Is Stanley alive?
‘She’d been in these woods a hundred times or more. But she’d never gone there alone’
Only for Myrtle, this mistake will cost her, her life.
Flora is the local doctor’s daughter and was friend and confidant to Myrtle. The women had previously worked together as VADs during the war. But when war was over Myrtle must return to the mills and Flora to her father’s surgery. The different places in the class system, keeping them apart.
When Jack Blemthwaite discovers Myrtle’s body, Flora’s father is summoned. But Flora is unsettled by the local communities rush to blame Jack due to his absence at war!
Local resident Annie, receives notification her son Harold is MIA
‘Better a hero than a coward. Cowards were the lowest of the low and being the mother of a coward would have been the ultimate humiliation’
The novel fully portrays life for village residents in war time and the harsh reality of shame on those deemed ‘coward’s’. The war impacts on everyone’s lives and it was refreshing to see this be brought to the main theme of the novel and not used as a backdrop.
Then Annie receives a note…
Flora attempts to involve herself into the case, assisting a reluctant Sgt Teague. She attempts to use her influence to help clear Jack’s name.
‘The self-appointed jury that’s found Jack guilty without the benefit of a trial’
We become aware Jack is developmentally delayed and appears as a child trapped in a man’s body. But if Jack isn’t the killer then who is?
The callous lure continues, with more women lured to their deaths. Then Inspector Albert Lincoln is called in to assist. Albert is a broken man himself both physically and emotionally. His wife Mary barely talks to him after the death of their son Fredrick. Albert has a broken soul, but can he catch the killer before he takes more souls for his own.
The village has seen so much change in five years, with the effects of the war impacting nearly all the individual families.
‘For four years life had been cheap. Now it was precious’
The village residents are desperate to see an end to the tragic loss of lives. But what is the killer’s motive?
‘Who can fathom the mysteries of the human mind, especially after this war’
Kate Ellis brings the post ww1 are alive on the pages and via the emotions of the characters within the village of Wenfield.
The final reveal is simply astounding and worth every second spent reading. 5* Genius
The Boy Who Lives With The Dead by Kate Ellis ~ #2 Albert Lincoln Series
My Own Copy ~ Hardback Book
The second historical thriller in the Albert Lincoln series by acclaimed crime writer Kate Ellis.
A child haunted by the past . . . A village troubled by secrets . . .
It is 1920 and Scotland Yard detective DI Albert Lincoln is still reeling from the disturbing events of the previous year. Trapped in a loveless marriage and tired of his life in London, he’s pleased when he’s called to a new case in the North West of England.
Before the War, he led the unsuccessful investigation into the murder of little Jimmy Rudyard in the village of Mabley Ridge. Now a woman has been murdered there and another child is missing, the sole witness being a traumatised boy who lives in a cemetery lodge. Albert’s first investigation was a failure but this time he is determined to find the truth . . . and the missing child.
As Albert delves into the lives of the village residents he uncovers shocking secrets and obsessions. With the help of a village schoolmistress with her own secret past, Albert closes in on Jimmy’s killer. Then, as more bodies are discovered, he realises that his young witness from the cemetery lodge is in grave danger, from somebody he calls ‘the Shadow Man’. As Albert discovers more about the victims he finds information that might bring him a step closer to solving a mystery of his own: the whereabouts of his lost son.
My Review ~
The Boy Who Lived With The Dead, picks up 18 months after the previous novel in the series A High Morality Of Doves. This time the case that Albert Lincoln is called to is in Cheshire. It is the location of a previous murder, that Albert was unsuccessful in solving. The case of little Jimmy Rudyard weighs heavy on his mind. With a woman murdered and a baby now missing. Albert must work quickly to solve the case and locate the baby.
The novel opens in September 1920, at the village of Mabley Ridge, Cheshire. Patience Bailey is found buried alive in a local graveyard. With local child Peter confiding in his school teacher Miss Davies (Gwen) that he witnessed somebody at the scene. Someone he refers to as the shadow man. Only the situation becomes more complex, when Peter is revealed to be the brother of Jimmy Rudyard.
Gwen’s backstory is more complex, and she makes for a likely sleuth alongside Albert.
‘According to her family, her loss was a punishment that had to be endured; sometimes she hated her family’
Mallory Ghent married his wife Jane for her wealth, their marriage is not one of love or romance. Patience was Jane’s paid companion, having helped Jane overcome her own personal demons. Jane seeks justice for her companion’s killer.
Albert has developed into a full workaholic to avoid his wife Mary. His wife has become consumed with visiting spiritualists aided by her mother Vera. Mary wishes to contact their son Fredrick, But Albert firmly believes she has merely been taken in by a bunch of charlatans. He relishes the chance to escape his home life.
‘Corpses don’t bury themselves, somebody in Mabley Ridge had killed her’
With the introduction of Albert into Patience’s case, we finally learn the facts of Jimmy Rudyard’s murder. Peter claimed a man on horseback took Jimmy, he was never believed, but was he telling the truth?
Albert seek redemption for failing to find Jimmy’s killer and plans to unearth all the secrets of the village, if that is what it takes.
I have pages of note and quotes, but to include them all would provide spoilers. The novel is very similar to the first in the series. This is not a criticism, I am merely just referencing the era, themes and development of characters etc. The novels are best read in order to get the most from the series.
The novel has a perfect ending that leads straight into the next novel.
Which I cannot wait to read!
The series is pure perfection.