Darkness Beyond (A Herbert Reardon Mystery, 5)

Written by Marjorie Eccles
Review by K. M. Sandrick

Paul Millar, thought to be dead for 14 years, turns up at his family’s house in Folbury, England, in February 1933. But his homecoming is not welcomed by either his sister Thea or his brother Teddy or even his son Matt, who was eight years old at the time Paul left to fight in the Great War. Days later, Paul’s body is found floating in the Folbury Cut, a gunshot wound in the back of the head.

Darkness Beyond is the latest in Eccles’ Herbert Reardon mystery series, which follows the detective superintendent and his sergeant Joe Gilmour as they piece together clues and solve crimes committed in the Midlands immediately after WWI and continuing into the 1930s. The plot is richly layered with twists and turns that link the Millar family’s past to Paul’s return. Characters are finely drawn; first-person narratives interspersed within the police procedural provide insight and emotion. The setting is moody and atmospheric. From the beginning, readers are pulled along by the questions: where has Paul been? Why he has never let his family know he was alive? And most immediately: Why has he come back?