Eeny Meeny Miny Moe, by Joanna Price
Lauren Hampton used to be a famous model; in fact, many regarded her as Britain’s first supermodel. Those years are far behind her now and there is little left of her beauty when she’s found in her house, dead with a plastic supermarket-bag over her head. When Detective Sergeant Kate Linton receives the call summoning her to the crime-scene she is in a Glastonbury theatre watching a production of Beauty and the Beast starring, as coincidence would have it, Lauren’s son Mark as the Beast.
When Kate and her superior, the very attractive Detective Inspector Rob Brown, start their investigation it soon becomes clear that the victim was universally disliked. It seems that only her son Mark has anything nice to say about the woman and even his remarks sound more like excuses. While Brown is soon convinced that Mark Hampton is the most likely suspect, Kate doubts this assessment, not in the least since Mark appears to have a very solid alibi and goes out of his way to be charming and cooperative. And with Rob Brown apparently not at all interested in Kate’s advances, Hampton’s attention does wonders for her self-esteem.
At the same time the Glastonbury force is investigating a series of brutal rapes; attacks on women that become increasingly violent and become very personal when Kate’s best friend falls victim to the man. With both cases suffering from a desperate lack of concrete evidence frustration is running high. And when Kate’s plan to seduce her superior goes to ruin she puts herself in a situation that may well end up killing her.
This is a good mystery, with multiple credible suspects and motives. In fact, it is very hard to find a single likeable character amongst those who are connected to Lauren Hampton. And with the victim being as nasty as she was, it was easy to see why any of those around her might have wanted to put an end to her life.
This is also a very well written police procedural. The way the case is investigated and the evidence collected rings true as does the frustration when the available evidence does nothing to help Linton and Brown solve their case. I really liked that the solution to both the murder and the rape case made perfect sense yet did come as a surprise. There were no sudden, explosive revelations to make the resolution possible. Because the story is told from multiple points of view, the reader gets bits of background information all through the story. This means that all the necessary information was there for the reader to find, yet submitted in such a way that the solution wasn’t a foregone conclusion.
The dynamics between Kate and Rob are interesting and fun. I enjoyed watching the two of them circling around each other, not really getting anywhere and never admitting to what they feel, yet unable to leave each other alone. I’m looking forward to finding out how the relationship between these two characters will develop over future books. From what we’ve seen so far it is clear that whatever happens next, it won’t be boring.
In short, Eeny Meeny Miny Moe was a good and well written mystery, set in fascinating surroundings and with characters that grab the reader’s interest. I’m looking forwards to reading more books in this series.