A Patient Fury (Ward)

A Patient Fury - Sarah Ward

This is the third entry in Sarah Ward's DC Connie Childs series, and I think I must be becoming accustomed to disliking (mildly or intensely) her characters, be they good or bad, because that aspect of her writing did not bother me as much as it did in A Deadly Thaw. The mystery reader who looks for a satisfactory restoration of good over evil at the end of their detective novel (not necessarily a reasonable hope in this less-formulaic age) will note with interest the titles of the three main sections of the book: "The Wrong", "The Right", and again "The Wrong".


Yes, Connie is wrong in the first section, right in the second, and wrong again in the third - or at least so it seems! - and I'm not going to say more than that about the final outcome, even though I've put a spoiler warning on this review. The twist at the end was only one of the possibilities I was still mulling; one thing I didn't like so much was that novel ended quite abruptly, with one secondary character left rather disturbingly vulnerable to a horrid fate.


As usual, the murders in the present - nasty, involving blunt force trauma and a fire, and with 3 dead bodies, though the number that are actually murders is intrinsic to the solution so I won't say - anyway, the present murders are linked to a past unpleasant incident (in this case the disappearance of a parent). And though there is nothing supernatural, there is quite a lot of haunting from the past that goes on one way or another, including the profession of our main survivor and protagonist, Julia, who gives "ghost tours".


As far as settings go, we mostly stick close to Connie's beat in her fictional English town, but we do have a brief trip to a historically interesting prison in Leicester. Its history seems to have interested the author, too, because she gave enough detail to pique my curiosity and send me to Google for pictures.


Psychologically, Connie's a bit of a mess in this one - she's depressed, recovering both from being summarily shoved away from her very brief affair, and from very bad physical injuries at the end of the last novel, and she's self-doubting and irritable enough when her superiors question her judgment & discipline her to submit her resignation. Fortunately for the continuation of the series, it's not accepted. However, if a relationship with her immediate superior, Sadler, is the long game, then based on this novel it's going to be a very long game indeed.


I'm not a raving fan, but I'll probably continue to follow this series, now that I've made something of an investment in all those continuing characters that I can't - quite - like.