Probably Dead by Ed Church is part of the Detective Brook Deelman Mystery series. However, I didn’t feel as if I needed to read the other books in the series in order to follow the storyline. I enjoy a good investigative drama and this book fits the bill to a T.
Beginning in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, Detective Brook Deelman stops a bar robbery and is handed the case files for a thirty year old unsolved disappearance. His investigation takes him back to London and his own precinct. The mystery resolves itself unexpectedly, going full circle in returning to South Africa.
I’m especially fond of mysteries that I haven’t solved from my armchair half-way through. Then when I found out I could read more of Detective Deelman’s crime-stopping crusades, color me delighted! If you are a mystery fan and admire rugged and efficient detectives too, you’ll love Probably Dead by Ed Church.
For decades, Jen Taylor believed she had killed her classmate Kelly in an altercation on the railway tracks. An email from Kelly’s mother reawakens all that Jen thought she had buried. Jen reluctantly agrees to look into the matter for the dying mother. This means revisiting her own childhood trauma, something she has attempted to avoid at all costs.
The story leaps back and forth between the present and the past, not necessarily in a linear manner. Clues to what really happened to Kelly are scattered like breadcrumbs throughout the narrative. Even if you think you have it pieced together, odds are you won’t get it just right. I know I didn’t.
Having experienced the 1980s myself, I enjoyed the attention to detail that the author employed—references to songs, artists, current events, devices, and even clothing styles. Not being British, I also appreciated the cultural explanations, especially at the beginning of the book when describing Rembrandt Estates.
I had some difficulty keeping track of the children and their parents in parts of the story. I’d have loved a genealogy or even a map of the housing development and its relation to the train tracks to help me keep everyone straight. But then, I’m a visual person. Other people might not have this problem. Hidden by Lisa Sell is a mystery you’ll enjoy solving alongside Jen.