Grisly murders in picturesque Oxfordshire villages. Yes, as the title implies, bodies are being dismembered and stuffed into postboxes! The first is discovered by a little old lady mailing her letters, then on the same day another. A months respite, then two more! The Thames Valley Police have a serial murderer on their hands. Fear and paranoia prevail in the villages.
Richard Montrose is a man who repairs clocks for a living, who lives alone, and who is obsessed by crime and this crime in particular. He has a vast collection of true crime literature and he has followed this case from its inception by tracing the murders on maps and with newspaper clippings. His neighbors find him peculiar – a bit of an oddball. He doesn’t mind – as he likes his solitary life and has no wish to live any other way. Montrose becomes the main suspect in the murders after he is spotted at two of the victim’s funerals and after he impersonates a reporter in order to gain more information about the murders. Even HE admits that he fits the criteria of a possible murderer.
Sadly, Montrose is the only character the reader gets to know in any depth at all. The police are like cardboard caricatures and the murderer is an unknown quantity.
I love a good British police procedural. Those who follow this blog know that a good dust-jacket can make me very interested in the story within. This cover was attractive and alluded to a murder mystery I might enjoy. I like them heavy on character development with the crime almost incidental to the story. When the crime’s motive is expounded at length with the psychology of the perpetrator discussed. “The Postbox Murders” was just the opposite. The story was mostly about the discoveries of the crimes, with little character development or credible motive. The ending was improbable and in my opinion a bit contrived. With a bucolic setting and the potential of an interesting premise, this book could have been so much more…
Thanks to Endeavor Press for providing me with a digital copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.