Happily, I’d say this fifth installment in the Peter Grant series is a step up from number four. For the first time since the first book in the series, the plot centers primarily on one case, and boy did that help it feel so much more focused! I’m disappointed that Nightingale’s involvement was minimal once again and quite literally phoned in, but I’m starting to accept the fact that my hopes for an odd couple buddy cop comedy were lies I told myself and not promises the first book made. At least I got a bit more info regarding Nightingale’s past and the oft-referenced debacle at Ettersberg, and now I have a decent guess as to what’s behind the mysterious black door at the Folly. I could be totally wrong, but a decent guess is more than I had before.
Lest we forget about Lesley and her sudden and clichéd betrayal, she gets a small subplot in which she occasionally reaches out to Peter for reasons unknown and highly suspect, and Peter does his best not to think about it lest he trigger that introspection allergy. Good thing the Peter and Beverly relationship subplot was there to distract him. Too bad it was disappointingly lackluster.
Mild spoilers to follow:
Peter and Beverly flirted in the first book, but Peter essentially classified her as off-limits for a whole host of reasons, many of them darn good ones. Then Beverly was mostly absent for two and a half books. Then she was back, Peter had a few perfunctory work-related conversations with her in which she chided him for not visiting, calling, or even texting, and then Lesley was suddenly deeply invested in whether Peter was banging Beverly yet. Then comes book five, in which they start banging after minimal flirtation and character development (and zero consideration of the scruples that kept Peter from making a play for Beverly in book one), and I just couldn’t care less. Well, I guess I care enough to write a whole paragraph about how I feel like I’m being told they have a relationship instead of getting to see one develop. So there you go. I lied. I could care less. But are these people having sex because they like each other or because other people expect it of them?
TL;DR: I enjoyed reading about Peter investigating the missing persons case at the heart of the plot, but the Lesley thing still sucks unoriginal balls and writing romantic relationships maybe isn’t Aaronovitch’s forte.
(Read for Halloween Bingo Cryptozoologist Square)