Tuesday, 24 May 2016

An Empty Death by Laura Wilson

An Empty Death is the second book in the DI Stratton series by Laura Wilson.  This book is set in London at the end of WWII.    The book starts when a body is found on a bomb site and DI Ted Stratton is called on to investigate this suspicious death.  The body is identified as a doctor who worked at the nearby Middlesex Hospital.  The pathologist, Dr Byrne, indicates that the doctor has been murdered.  Shortly afterwards, a nurse is found murdered at the hospital.  Meanwhile Stratton's wife Jenny and her sister decide to look after a woman who was hurt when her house was bombed.  This woman, Mrs Ingram, seems to have been so badly affected by this event that she does not recognise her husband when he returns on leave.

We also find out about Todd who is working as a mortuary attendant at the beginning of the book but feels frustrated that he was unable to pursue his dream of becoming a doctor due to his family's financial difficulties. 

I really enjoyed this book and felt that life in war-torn London was very well described with the endless shortages of the basics and the increasing exhaustion of the inhabitants as the war dragged on.  At one point Stratton says, "we can't go on much longer.  None of us can; we're exhausted - there's no colour or spirit or jollity left."

I liked the character of Stratton who came across as a hard-working police officer who loved his wife and was missing his children as they had been evacuated to the country.

The plot was gripping and I couldn't put the book down until I found out who had committed the murders - the author had cleverly led us along so that I thought I knew who the murderer was.  I was wrong!   In fact the ending was unexpected as the various themes came together to a terrifying conclusion.

Having enjoyed this book so much, I will certainly read some of the others in the series.

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