Bamburgh by L.J. Ross

Bamburgh (DCI Ryan Mysteries, #19)Barbara’s rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Series: A DCI Ryan Mystery #19
Publication Date: 3/31/22
Period: Contemporary, Northumberland, UK
Number of Pages: 312

This author excels at creating an excellently convoluted mystery while still allowing you to spend time with and get to know the members of the investigative team. This book is an excellent example of that talent. If you have read other books in the series, you’ll already know about the tragic event that shaped Melanie Yates’s life. If you haven’t read other books in the series, you’ll get enough background to easily follow the story. The author does an excellent job of weaving the events from 2007 into the contemporary story of 2022 and enabling us to better understand what is driving Melanie as an adult.

Woven into the background of several books we’ve seen there is a serial killer stalking England. This murderer has gotten much more clever over time and while the police know there are more victims, they never find the bodies. Melanie’s (Mel) sister Gemma was one of this sadistic killer’s earliest victims and Mel has blamed herself for what happened. It is why she joined the force and why she spends all of her off-time working the case. In the last book, one of the victims managed to escape – and miracle-of-miracles – there was trace DNA evidence found on her body. Sadly, the authorities haven’t found any matches in the system, so they’ve not been able to identify the killer – yet. Finding that DNA was enough to get the powers-that-be to agree to form a task team to concentrate on finding the dastard. However, that team has to exclude Melanie or risk being challenged in court.

We learn early on – almost at the beginning – who the serial killer is. The story is spent watching the team work toward identifying him – and watching him plot his course to thwart the team. It is quite interesting to see the inner workings of such a twisted mind, and you have to wonder how he can seem so normal and engaging.

While they are working on the serial killer case, they are also working on the case of a very wealthy older lady who is murdered in her home. It almost – almost – looked like an accident, but sharp eyes noticed that all was not as it seemed. We learn what a delightful lady she was and mourn her loss. It was a pleasure to see her murderer identified.

However, the very best part is watching the serial killer gloat and plan and – get caught. I will say, though, that the ending was a bit abrupt without a real build-up to it. Also, the aftermath with Mel, her family, and DC Lowerson was left sort of up in the air. I can hardly wait for the next entry into the series so I can, hopefully, see how it all worked out.

I definitely can – and do – recommend this book. It is well-written, excellently plotted, and excellently paced. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.

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Avid reader/reviewer of historical romance and historical mysteries.

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