The Body In The Trees: A Bowman Of The Yard Investigation 3

Written by Richard James
Review by Marilyn Pemberton

In 1892, Detective Inspector George Bowman and his trusty sidekick Sergeant Graves, who Bowman suspects has been sent to keep an eye on him, are dispatched from London to the village of Larton, at the request of Lord Melville, to investigate the three supposed suicides that have occurred within the last eight weeks.

The biggest challenge the men face is the stonewalling from the inhabitants of Larton Rise, where the poorest live; Larton Village, where the more well-to do live; and Larton Dean, where the most affluent live. Bowman, like all good fictional detectives, is a flawed character; not only is he physically uninspiring, but he has fallen foul of the demon drink in order to numb his senses and help him forget the death of his wife, seemingly at his own hand.

The men continue with their investigations despite the lack of cooperation, but their doggedness leads to Graves being badly injured and to Bowman being destined for the asylum once more. This is not only a good murder mystery but also an insight into social prejudice, intolerance and status, as well as individual avarice, loyalty, despair and potential madness. Oh, and the Freemasons are somewhere in the mix.

This is the third in the Bowman series. Readers interested in crime or Victorian society or who are fans of Bowman and Graves will enjoy this book either as a standalone, as I did, or as part of the series. Recommended (despite some grammatical errors).