On the Bookshelf...

The Skeleton Room

Kate Ellis

When workmen converting former girls' boarding school, Chadleigh Hall, into a luxury hotel discover a skeleton in a sealed room, DI Wesley Peterson and his boss, Gerry Heffernan are called in to investigate. But within minutes they have a second suspicious death on their hands: a team of marine archaeologists working on a nearby shipwreck have dragged a woman's body from the sea. And it becomes clear that her death was no accident. The dead woman's husband may be linked with a brutal robbery of computer equipment but Wesley soon discovers that the victim had secrets of her own. As he investigates Chadleigh Hall's past and the woman's violent death, both trails lead in surprising directions and matters are further complicated when a man wanted for a murder in London appears on the scene, a man who may know more about Wesley's cases than he admits

It's been a long time since I read one of the Wesley Peterson novels by author Kate Ellis. So, I picked up this novel, The Skeleton Room, with a certain form of trepidation. I'd always enjoyed this laid-back crime series. It had a decent police procedural, likeable but complex characters and a lovely backstory, always featuring archaeology. Would I get right back into the series without working out all the characters again? Would they hold the same joy that the earlier books held?

Well five minutes into the book and I was again back in that world. I easily picked up the thread of the story. New readers will easily be able to read any of the books in the series out of order. This mystery follows the discovery of bones in a room that was once a girl's school but is now being turned into a hotel and spa. As always with a Kate Ellis book, there is a historical backstory as well. This time it's the tale of wreckers in past times that lured ships to the rocks so they could plunder their cargoes.

I really enjoyed both the back story and the modern-day story in this one. Neil, Wes's friend the archaeologist makes an appearance, helping Wes to solve the mystery with his skills. There were so many likeable characters again in the story. A cruel twist at the end was a bit of a downer, but was deliciously delivered.

I've got the next one cued up on my Kindle and am looking forward to reading more from the Wes Peterson series. A four star ride.

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Review by
AJ Steel
May 4, 2023

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