BLURB: It’s Christmas in Sheffield. But not everyone is enjoying the festive season…A man has been found brutally murdered in his own home.The victim is Iain Kilbride, a once-famous TV star who has faded into obscurity. All signs point to a break-in, but why has nothing been taken. For DCI Matilda Darke, this is the perfect chance to prove her newly formed Murder Investigation Team are up to the task. Matilda suspects the clue to the finding the killer lies in Iain’s past, but she’s about to discover how dark that past really is…
In November I wrote a post asking YOU which of five British police procedural mystery series I should begin reading first. The stand-out winner of this poll was the DCI Matilda Darke series written by Michael Wood. As I was just going to start the first novel, I realized that there was a prequel novella. SO, OF COURSE, I had to read that first.
I knew I was onto a winner when, before starting this story, I read the dedication which states: “To my bloggers. For loving Matilda as much as I do“.
The novella is an excellent introduction to DCI Matilda Darke and gives some good background on her newly formed “Murder Investigation Team” for the South Yorkshire Police, showcasing the rivalry between her and Ben Hales, another DI who wants her new job. It lets us get to know Matilda on a personal level and we learn of her deep love for her husband James, an architect to whom she has been married for less than a year.
Set in Sheffield, the novella is an exemplary murder mystery, a character-driven, well-paced, compellingly written police procedural which left me wanting MORE Matilda Darke. As I’m already reading the first novel in the series “For Reasons Unknown”, I guess it worked.
At only 85 pages I think this prequel story will be very well received by those who have read and loved this series, whether they read it before the rest of the books, or after.
One thing is sure, I will be reading ALL of the novels in this series. Highly recommended!
Michael Wood is a freelance journalist and proofreader living in Sheffield. As a journalist he has covered many crime stories throughout Sheffield, gaining first-hand knowledge of police procedure. He also reviews books for CrimeSquad, a website dedicated to crime fiction. As a huge reader of crime fiction he decided to follow in the footsteps of his favourite authors. I, for one, am glad he did.
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