DI Will Wagstaffe - Staffe to friends and enemies alike - is a man with many burdens. On the eve of leaving for a personal trip abroad he is called to the scene of a horrific crime, a known paedophile has been butchered in his own home.
SUFFER THE CHILDREN is the first book introducing DI Will Wagstaffe. A confession early on - I try not to read blurbs on books so the first few chapters referring alternatively to Wagstaffe and Staffe left me mildly confused, a feeling that came back to visit me on a few occasions throughout the book.
Staffe is a workaholic, that or he doesn't trust the team he works with. Either way, as one of his past cases resolves leaving him threatened by the perpetrator and his gang of thugs, Staffe is planning a holiday. Which he cancels, or avoids, when somebody starts killing known sex offenders. Paedophiles keep dying, bizarrely, violently and Staffe and his colleagues find themselves in the invidious position of trying to find the killer of people that, well, does anybody really care. Guy Montefiore has a young teenage daughter of his own and he's not impressed with the bad habits her mother is handing onto her, but then he's also busy stalking teenager Tanya. Meanwhile Staffe mourns for his broken marriage, tries to help an old friend, and support a sister who is the victim of domestic violence (and who has moved into his house).
SUFFER THE CHILDREN has a very complicated plot line. It's overly complicated to be frank, which is a pity, as lurking within the complication, and slightly over dramatic goings on, there's a character set that had some promise. Mind you, yet another paedophile / vigilante / should anyone care because the victim's not a nice person - well it seemed very much like it had been done before and, even with all the ancillary goings on, there was nothing particularly startling or surprising. I think that's probably my biggest problem with SUFFER THE CHILDREN, predictable and a little boring and I wasn't all that shocked, or surprised, or disturbed or even particularly interested by the end.
THE WIND BLOWS DEATH - Cyril Hare
A shocking murder during a concert by the Markshire Orchestra sets a gory musical puzzle for Honorary Treasurer Francis Pettigrew, barrister hero of Cyril Hare's classic detective stories, Tragedy at Law, With a Bare Bodkin and That Yew Tree's Shade.
As Golden Age authors go, Cyril Hare has got to be one of my all time favourites, mostly because of his style. In THE WIND BLOWS DEATH (originally published as When the Wind Blows) there's a nicely complex plot - which frankly the reader is never going to be able to guess unless you're an expert on the scoring and orchestration of a certain symphony as well as some of the most obscure points of English law you could possibly imagine, but no matter. These books, whilst light and very very proper in tone, are intriguing and extremely enjoyable.