Thursday, 3 February 2000
Ann Granger: Call the Dead Again (1998)
Review number: 431
Another Mitchell and Markby novel; once again, the usual strengths and weaknesses of Granger's series are repeated. The unreasonable coincidence by which Meredith Mitchell becomes involved in the murder takes place once again - here, she picks up a hitch-hiker who becomes the main suspect.
The night after a strange, beautiful girl hitch-hikes to Bamford, the rich Andrew Penhallow is found murdered at his own back door. As Kate Drago's purpose in coming to the town was to visit Andrew, she is naturally suspected. When the police question her, Andrew's double life is revealed: she is his illegitimate daughter rather than the mistress that others thought her to be.
I do have an additional word of criticism. Granger uses the device of the extra thin skull, useful to crime writers because it reduces the force needed for a fatal blow and so widens the field of suspects. I'm pretty positive that there is a passage in a Dorothy Sayers novel in which this idea is dismissed as too hackneyed to use in a modern detective story (but I can't remember quite where), but here it crops up again sixty years later.