Featured Selection: Who Killed Vivien Morse? by Diana J. Febry
Diana J. Febry
It’s the mark of a talented writer who can start a serious murder mystery with humor that works.
Vivien Morse, a young social worker is discovered battered to death in Silver Lady Woods. Everyone assumes she was attacked by her estranged husband until her supervisor disappears.
The connection appears to be Vivien’s last client. A damaged and disturbed girl who believes a bundle of rags is her lost baby and never leaves the family farm while she awaits the return of her lover.
The matter is confused by the arrival of a stranger to the area clearly searching for something or someone and an escaped convict with connections to the area.
DCI Hatherall has to separate fact from fantasy to discover who did kill Vivien Morse.
Review by Luv2Read:
The impeccably dressed Peter Hatherall returns to the page in Who Killed Vivien Morse (DCI Hatherall Book 4) by Diana J. Febry and I’m into this read on page one, which is peppered with humor and whit as the story starts out at a good clip with a visit from Glenys Pitman, a neighborhood busybody who has seen a dog-walking man wearing a dress with open sandals showing dirty feet.
Taken for a prowler this Druid-priest-appearing male and Pitman’s design to enlist Hatherall to take care of him, has me laughing. It’s the mark of a talented writer who can start a serious murder mystery with humor that works.
This is one of the things I love about this author and a big reason I keep coming back for more; the storylines are great mysteries but also done in a light tongue-in-cheek manner that works. I know that the levity will end and soon enough it does when Hatherall’s partner, Fiona Williams, enters and announces that a woman’s body has been found.
The victim—a late twenties, smartly dressed, professional—is a social worker: Vivien Morse. One of the officers fancies her and is upset to see the body.
Some investigating reveals that she is getting a divorce from her abusive husband that she’s recently filed an injunction against. The investigation starts with a visit and questioning of the victim’s husband and moves along to her workplace where clients are prisoners, people with mental health issues, etc.
This lead to an interview with the last client Vivien saw, an abused woman violently victimized by a con man who left her physically and emotionally wounded, virtually living in unreality. Nothing of note came from that interview, or the one with the nurse who found the body, or a search through the victim’s house.
The hunt continues and while it does the witty dialogue and relationship between Hatherall and Williams moves the story along at a rapid pace. It’s hard to put this one down.
The list of possible suspects widens and attention shifts back to the husband, could there be a secret lover and his wife, the family, anyone who might have a grudge against the victim, the friendly likable Vivien Morse.
There is no lack of pace to the storyline as the reader learns that her house was broken into recently with nothing ostensibly disturbed but the detectives wonder if she brought a client’s file home that might incriminate someone, thus widening even further the search and the mystery glue holding me to the page.
And oh it gets really good when a clue about the break-in is revealed: dog hair has been left at the scene. More clues, more potential witnesses, more twists and turns, with sharp dialogue moves this right along to a satisfying ending. I’m reaffirmed and hooked on this series and the author.