Grave Stones by Priscilla Masters. Book review

Grave Stones by Priscilla Masters. Alison & Busby ‘7.99

Reviewed by Jim Steel

Grave Stones is the ninth novel in the Joanna Piercy crime series. Masters’ first novel, Mr Bateman’s Garden, was a fantasy, but the only fantasy-related element here is one of the characters who fancies herself as a psychic. However, she’s given short shrift in this police procedural. Each of the titles can be read as a standalone mystery although Masters is gradually building a life-story for Detective Inspector Piercy and her Staffordshire-based colleagues as the series progresses. Our heroine gets engaged in this volume.

The murder takes place in the countryside somewhere outside of Leek. An unpleasant farmer is found dead on his farm. He’s been lying there for a while until someone eventually investigates the smell. For the readers, at the start, the obvious suspect will be his unpleasant daughter, but there is also a new estate of around eight houses build on land that was formerly his. All the residents are also deliciously unpleasant and there is a strong possibility that dodgy business deals are involved.

Masters’s unadorned prose builds the plot and hides the resolution until near the end, even if she has to shoehorn one clue into the narrative in a very obvious manner. Piercy’s domestic drama is also kept under control and the murder mystery holds centre stage. The conclusion is slightly ragged but Masters can be forgiven that for the enjoyment of the journey.

Grave Stones by Priscilla Masters. Alison & Busby ‘7.99

Reviewed by Jim Steel

Grave Stones is the ninth novel in the Joanna Piercy crime series. Masters’ first novel, Mr Bateman’s Garden, was a fantasy, but the only fantasy-related element here is one of the characters who fancies herself as a psychic. However, she’s given short shrift in this police procedural. Each of the titles can be read as a standalone mystery although Masters is gradually building a life-story for Detective Inspector Piercy and her Staffordshire-based colleagues as the series progresses. Our heroine gets engaged in this volume.

The murder takes place in the countryside somewhere outside of Leek. An unpleasant farmer is found dead on his farm. He’s been lying there for a while until someone eventually investigates the smell. For the readers, at the start, the obvious suspect will be his unpleasant daughter, but there is also a new estate of around eight houses build on land that was formerly his. All the residents are also deliciously unpleasant and there is a strong possibility that dodgy business deals are involved.

Masters’s unadorned prose builds the plot and hides the resolution until near the end, even if she has to shoehorn one clue into the narrative in a very obvious manner. Piercy’s domestic drama is also kept under control and the murder mystery holds centre stage. The conclusion is slightly ragged but Masters can be forgiven that for the enjoyment of the journey.