By: Jane Casey, Minotaur Books
“I’m Maeve Kerrigan. I’m a detective sergeant with the London Metropolitan Police. Do you mind if I ask you some questions?”
This is how this wonderful fictional detective introduces herself. She is gentle and respectful with suspects. But, she is also relentless in tracking down evil-doers. Maeve Kerrigan is the creation of Jane Casey.
Casey was born in 1977 in Dublin and grew up in Ireland. She is the author of many crime fiction novels. Some have even been nominated for the Irish Crime Book of the Year Awards. She is the author of 9 novels that feature Maeve Kerrigan. Casey studied English at Jesus College, Oxford and earned a master’s of philosophy at Trinity College, Dublin.
She was a book editor in London until she met her husband. Now, she lives with him and their two children in southwest London. Her husband is a “prosecution barrister and a special constable. He worked with victims of domestic abuse, street violence, and traffic accidents. He is a mine of information, a real insight into how the police force works.”
The plot and thoroughness of the police work are gripping. She has a wonderful ability to create believable characters and a talent for using beautiful words and language, as you’ll see in the quotes.
Chloe Emery was a teenager who lived with her mother in West London. Kate Emery was her mother. Chloe’s parents lived separate lives and even lived far from one another. They had been divorced for years. Chloe had gone to visit her father, but when she returns, found that Kate was missing and that there was blood in many parts of the house. However, there was no body.
Maeve Kerrigan is assigned the case and sets out to find the body. She interviews many people, carefully takes their testimony and checks the truth of the suspect’s alibis to see if anybody is lying.
No body is ever found, but we meet many characters as Kerrigan investigates. Casey draws those characters carefully and insightfully.
Maeve Kerrigan interviews a neighbor of Kate Emery on a very warm day. “The green-painted door swung open to reveal a slim woman with light brown hair and a worried expression, which was fair enough when there were two police detectives on her doorstep. She was wearing a long-sleeved white blouse buttoned up to the neck and ankle-length skirt. I glanced down at her feet to see flat, round-toed shoes, soft blue leather, and buff-colored tights. I was wearing my lightest trouser suit over a sleeveless top and I was melting. I would have collapsed from heat exhaustion after five minutes in that outfit.”
Maeve discovers that Kate Emery was a very strange person. Her daughter was slow, but not specialized. She consulted many psychologists until finally finding one who would label her daughter, Chloe, specialized!
One psychologist who wouldn’t condemn Chloe to specialized status made notes about the mother, observing, “She needed Chloe to need her. I had the impression that she enjoyed the attention she got because of Chloe being like she was. Ordinary wasn’t good enough for her. She wanted extraordinary, even if it was in a negative sense of the word.”
Maeve’s thoughts looking at the body of Chloe: “I never got used to seeing the utter absence that was death. The spirit that had made Chloe what she was had departed. It was why I couldn’t reject the religion that had run through the tapestry of my childhood like a gold thread, even if it was fashionable to forget it, even if I didn’t always agree with the specifics. There was a comfort and a certainty to it, a calm acceptance that life went on after the body faltered and fell. I stood by Chloe Emery’s body and prayed for her soul.”
Review by Frank West