Playing with Bones: A Joe Plantagenet Murder Mystery

Overview

Three seemingly separate cases quickly become entangled, and DI Joe Plantagenet must sort them out before more lives are lost.
 

Singmass Close has a sinister past, reputedly haunted by the ghosts of children. In the 1950s it was the hunting ground of the Doll Strangler, a ruthless killer who was never brought to justice. Now DI Joe Plantagenet wonders whether a copycat killer is at work when the strangled body of teenager Natalie Parkes ...

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Overview

Three seemingly separate cases quickly become entangled, and DI Joe Plantagenet must sort them out before more lives are lost.
 

Singmass Close has a sinister past, reputedly haunted by the ghosts of children. In the 1950s it was the hunting ground of the Doll Strangler, a ruthless killer who was never brought to justice. Now DI Joe Plantagenet wonders whether a copycat killer is at work when the strangled body of teenager Natalie Parkes is found with a mutilated doll lying by her side. With the recent disappearance of a young female model and an escaped convict at large, this new, horrific murder stretches Joe’s team to their limit. But as the bodies start mounting up and Joe’s questioning brings him closer to the real strangler, he comes to suspect a shocking connection between all three cases.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Atmospheric . . . a compelling thriller perhaps best enjoyed during daylight."  —Booklist

"Ellis rates right up there with Peter Turnbull and Sally Spencer. For fans of British procedurals."  —Library Journal

"Ellis  keeps a steady hand on the tiller in DI Plantagenet's second outing, setting forth her tightly controlled plot in a way that's both cozy and creepy."  —Kirkus Reviews

"Ellis rates right up there with Peter Turnbull and Sally Spencer. For fans of British procedurals."  —Library Journal

Publishers Weekly
In Ellis's run-of-the-mill second procedural to feature North Yorkshire Det. Insp. Joe Plantaganet (after 2009's Seeking the Dead), Plantagenet, who carries with him the de rigueur tragic backstory (i.e., the loss of his wife in an accident, the murder of his partner), looks into a potentially explosive case—the strangulation of a young woman, eventually identified as Natalie Parkes, whose left big toe was severed postmortem. Beside her corpse was a porcelain doll, mutilated in the same fashion. Incredibly, the police only learn of similar murders in the 1950s committed by a killer nicknamed the Doll Strangler of Singmass Close, who was never apprehended, by reading a true-crime book. A subplot concerning a naïve would-be model who finds herself abducted and forced to care for an ailing elderly woman provides a clumsy link to the police investigation. The solution to Parkes's murder will strike many as coming out of left field. (Jan.)
Library Journal
A serial killer stalks Singmass Close, a somewhat sinister area in Eborby, Yorkshire. DI Joe Plantagenet and DCI Emily Thwaite find themselves looking at some cold cases that might be the model for the current ones. VERDICT Ellis rates right up there with Peter Turnbull and Sally Spencer. For fans of British procedurals.
Kirkus Reviews
A serial killer known as the Doll Strangler may be back after a 50-year break. The body found in Eborby's Singmass Close in North Yorkshire shows an identical MO to the victims attacked back in the 1950s: the same ligature; the same type of vintage doll left alongside the corpse; and the same mutilation of the big toe, presumably hacked off as a grisly keepsake. Is the killer really the same person, resuming work after all these years? The press is quick to presume that the Doll Strangler is back, but it's up to DI Joe Plantagenet to prove or disprove the headlines. His brief leads him to suspect the headmaster of Hicklethorpe Manor; the owner of Bridget's Bygones, a doll shop; and an employee of a former doll hospital that stood on the site of an ancient orphanage where abuse was such a daily routine that some say the wails and tears of the young girls can still be heard. But there's another possibility: The new atrocities may be the handiwork of Gordon Pledge, a child killer who recently escaped during a van transport. An interview with the sole survivor of the original Doll Strangler points Plantagenet toward tying together the old and new cases and quieting the orphans' voices. Or does it?Ellis (Seeking the Dead, 2008, etc.) keeps a steady hand on the tiller in DI Plantagenet's second outing, setting forth her tightly controlled plot in a way that's both cozy and creepy.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780749909338
  • Publisher: Piatkus Books
  • Publication date: 7/9/2010
  • Series: The Joe Plantagenet Murder Mysteries
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,320,704
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 6.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Kate Ellis is the author of The Wesley Peterson Murder Mysteries series and has twice been nominated for the Crime Writers’ Association Short Story Dagger.

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