Wayne Sutton is found dead by a stream in a beautiful meadow. His head has been bashed in and a red paper heart left on his body. The handsome young artist had a reputation as a ladies’ man.
DI Hillary Greene discovers that many wealthy married women were buying his paintings and taking ‘private’ art lesson from him. It appears that several of them might have wanted him dead.
Hillary also has a new detective sergeant, Gemma Fordham. Seemingly efficient and pleasant, she harbours a secret agenda.
Can Hillary get to the bottom of a complex case involving jealousy, love, and cold-blooded murder?
This is the fifth book by Faith Martin that I have had the pleasure of reading and reviewing. I have loved each and every one and ‘Murder In The Meadow’ is no exception but more about that in a bit.
I absolutely love the character of Detective Inspector Hillary Greene. She is a female police officer and is fast approaching middle age. She has been through some tough times, which in part is due to her criminal late husband, Ronnie Greene. He sounds as though he was a real nasty piece of work. Hilary didn’t realise quite how criminal her husband was until after he died. Not only that but Hilary was investigated after his death too as it was felt that she must have known some, if not all, of what he was up to. This must have been particularly humiliating for her. She has had to work hard to make people respect her again and she finally seems to have won their respect. Hilary didn’t know about what her husband was getting up to but she feels a sense of shame given that she didn’t know the extent of his criminality. DI Greene finally seems to be making a positive life for herself again although there has been & is the odd hiccup along the way. She is still seeing the bloke she was with, who works in the Vice Squad, although there are a few issues within the relationship. DI Greene also has an admirer/ stalker within the police force too. She has let him down gently but it appears that he is not going to take no for an answer. I was so hoping that Hilary would knee him or kick him in the balls. DI Greene gets on with most of her team. There is a new Detective Sergeant on the team, who seems unduly interested in DI Greene and her caseload. Hilary is not sure how far to trust this new DS and she is intrigued as to why the DS is so interested in her and her cases. The reasoning as to why is gradually explained through the book. The bane of DI Greene’s life is another person on her team- Detective Sergeant Frank Ross. He was her late husband’s best friend and he was in it up to his neck with him, although I don’t think that they managed to find any hard evidence to confront him with. I am not sure if Hilary Greene has elected to keep Ross on her team where she can keep an eye on him or whether or not her superiors have told her she is stuck with him. DS Frank Ross is a sexist, racist, homophobic, lazy, borderline alcoholic pig, who only turns up when he feels like it, he ‘conducts’ meetings in the local pub and he does the least amount of work necessary. He also has no respect for his superiors which grates on Hilary. I began to wonder which charm school Frank Ross had been to because it clearly hasn’t worked and he needs to claim a refund. I so wished I could have jumped into the pages of the book to knee him in the balls and slap him around the head with a wet flip flop for being such a creepy, old lech.
As with every other book by Faith Martin that I have read, I absolutely loved ‘Murder In The Meadow’. The story hit the ground running and maintained pace throughout. The writing style is such that you can’t fail to be drawn in from the first word on the first page and because you need to find out who did it and why, you just keep reading on and on. I became just as addicted to reading ‘Murder In the Meadow’ as I have done with each and every one of Faith’s books. I was so into the story that I didn’t realise just how quickly the pages were turning and before I knew what was happening I had finished the book, which I was so disappointed about. I was so gripped by the story that I just wanted the book to continue. Reading ‘Murder In The Meadow’ was similar to riding on a rollercoaster ride with the occasional twist, turn and stomach churning moment. There were times where I dreaded having to turn the page because I genuinely feared what was going to happen next. There were also occasions where I began arguing with the various characters, as if they could hear me or see me. Before anybody jumps in, I know that the book is a work of fiction but if a book is really good, I find myself ‘living’ the story and I feel as if I am a silent bystander to all the action playing out around me.
In short, I absolutely, totally and utterly LOVED reading ‘Murder In The Meadow’ and I would recommend this book and the Hilary Greene series to anybody. When you pick up a book by Faith Martin, you are guaranteed a page turning and thrilling tale. I can’t wait to read what comes next from this hugely successful author, but in the meantime I intend to read the series in order so far and one after the other. The score on the Ginger Book Geek board is an easy and well deserved 5* out of 5*.