Dancing with the Virgins (Ben Cooper and Diane Fry Series #2)

Dancing with the Virgins (Ben Cooper and Diane Fry Series #2)

4.2 43
by Stephen Booth
     
 

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A tense psychological crime thriller, the sequel to Stephen Booth's debut Cooper & Fry novel 'Black Dog', set in England's beautiful and atmospheric Peak District.
In a remote part of the Peak District stand the Nine Virgins, a ring of stones overshadowed by a dark legend. Now, as winter closes in, a tenth figure is added to the circle - the body of Jenny Weston is… See more details below

Overview

A tense psychological crime thriller, the sequel to Stephen Booth's debut Cooper & Fry novel 'Black Dog', set in England's beautiful and atmospheric Peak District.
In a remote part of the Peak District stand the Nine Virgins, a ring of stones overshadowed by a dark legend. Now, as winter closes in, a tenth figure is added to the circle - the body of Jenny Weston is discovered, her limbs arranged so she appears to be dancing.
Weeks earlier another woman had been attacked on the moors. Maggie Crew was found by a local farmer's wife, severely traumatized, her face savagely cut open. Is there a maniac on the loose, knifing women at random?
Unlocking the memories trapped in Maggie's mind is now a matter of utmost urgency for the detectives of Derbyshire 'E' Division. But while DS Diane Fry attempts to draw out the truth, DC Ben Cooper is left with too many lines of enquiry leading to too few answers.
As they struggle to make sense of a murder that seems motiveless, it becomes clear that the moors have witnessed more bloodshed than either Ben or Diane could imagine. And there is more to come before an answer can be found...

*Winner of the Barry Award for Best British Crime Novel of the Year

*Finalist for the CWA Gold Dagger Award for Best Crime Novel of 2001

"An atmospheric, psychological stunner" - The Bookseller

"Suspenseful and supremely engaging. Booth has done a wonderful job" - Los Angeles Times

"One of our best story tellers" - Sunday Telegraph

"Even more demanding, more substantial, and more knowing about the darkest recesses of the heart" - Kirkus Reviews

"Highly recommended - a great series!" - Seattle Mystery Bookstore

"Booth truly is a master" - I Love a Mystery

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Editorial Reviews

Eugen Weber
Stephen Booth has set his creepy crime novel Dancing With the Virgins unhurried, convoluted, suspenseful and supremely engaging.
Los Angeles Times
Publishers Weekly
After an atmospheric beginning, Booth settles down to a lengthy investigation marked by long stretches of unrelieved tedium in his second crime novel (after 2000's Black Dog). On Ringham Moor, in a remote area of England, a prehistoric ring of stones known as the Nine Virgins stands guardian over mankind's darkest secrets. To this lonely area comes Jenny Weston, a young cyclist. Entranced by the scenery's eerie ambience, Jenny doesn't hear the stealthy approach of a silent stalker, knife at the ready, who graphically dispatches her and artfully arranges her body to simulate a woman dancing. The killing seems singularly motiveless, and Diane Fry and Ben Cooper, the detectives assigned to the case, are an odd couple: Fry is a feminist and Cooper a beer-drinking sports enthusiast with a taste for records from the '80s. When they discover that another woman, Maggie Crew, was attacked by a knife-wielding assailant not half a mile from Ringham Moor, the plot appears to thicken. Unfortunately, the tone of the investigation is so matter-of-fact that the mystery fails to grip. Moreover, the characters are opaque, often one-dimensional, and the ultimate revelation of the murderer comes as a distinct anticlimax. The author seems more concerned with a welter of subplots, one involving a farmer running a dog-fighting ring and his b?te noire, an animal rights activist intent on mayhem. Booth is more successful at evoking the desolate moor, with its windswept cairns, stone circles and prehistoric burial grounds. But for most mystery fans, the mix will fail to gel. Agent, Teresa Chris. (Nov. 13) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Back after last year's well-received debut, Black Dog, Booth provides another psychologically complex British police procedural featuring Detective Constable Ben Cooper. When the body of Jenny Weston is found, displayed as if she were dancing, at the ancient site of the Nine Virgins stone circle, police suspect the same person who attacked and brutally disfigured Maggie Crew on the same Derbyshire moor just weeks earlier. But eight weeks and another nonfatal attack later, they are no closer to solving the crime, despite a list of possible suspects that includes a burglar with a potential personal grievance, a bad-tempered farmer driven to desperate means to survive economically, a well-respected park ranger who is found to like child pornography, and Jenny's ex-husband. Acting Detective Sergeant Diane Fry, a former partner of Cooper who got the promotion that seemed destined for him, can't jog Maggie's memories of her assailant. And Cooper must contend with his prickly relationship with Fry and his basic loyalty and humanity, as he sees victims where others see only suspects and shades of gray where others see black and white. Booth ought to be popular wherever Barbara Vine and Minette Walters have a following; for all such mystery collections. Michele Leber, Fairfax Cty. P.L., VA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Six weeks after solicitor Maggie Fry is found wandering Ringham Moor in an amnesiac daze after a knife slash leaves her face horribly scarred, Jenny Weston is even less lucky. She's stabbed to death and arranged in a cruel parody of a dancer's pose among the moor's Nine Virgins, stones that have stood for thousands of years only half a mile away from the site of Maggie's attack. Edendale detective Ben Cooper is convinced that he could nail Jenny's killer if only Maggie could give him a physical description of her assailant, but the tireless questioning of Ben's colleague and ex-lover, Acting Sergeant Diane Fry, seems only to make Maggie dig in her considerable heels. It looks as if the break will have to come from one of the other locals: louring farmer Warren Leach, farm hand Keith ("Slasher") Teasdale, fey Simon ("Stride") Bevington and his companion Calvin Lawrence. But the ugly, exhausting revelations that keep tumbling out-dogfighting, assault convictions, kiddie porn, an unacknowledged daughter, a remorseful suicide-don't come in time to prevent a third attack, and Ben and Diane are still struggling with half a dozen mysteries-some unrelated, some all-too-related-and with each other moments before the curtain thuds down. As mannered in its writing and cluttered in its plotting as Ben's and Diane's grim debut (Black Dog, 2000), but even more demanding, more substantial, and more knowing about the darkest recesses of the heart. A strong brew for readers who can take it.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780957237919
Publisher:
Westlea Books
Publication date:
04/12/2012
Series:
Ben Cooper and Diane Fry Series, #2
Pages:
432
Sales rank:
689,749
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.88(d)

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