A crime from the past. A murder from the future.
DS Fiona Griffiths is bored. It’s been months since she had a good corpse. Then she gets news; not just of a murder, but of a decapitation, and one committed with an antique sword no less. All that, and, a murder scene laid out like a gruesome crossword clue.
Gaynor Charteris was an archaeologist excavating a nearby iron-age site. Genial, respected, well-liked, it was hard to see why anyone would want to kill her.
But as Fiona starts to investigate, she finds evidence of a crime that seems to have its origins in King Arthur’s greatest battle – a crime so bizarre that getting her superiors to take it seriously is going to be her toughest job. Especially since the crime hasn’t yet been committed.
Fiona Griffiths is a Sergeant in the Major Crimes Unit in Cardiff. She loves the adrenalin rush that a murder hunt gives her and she has been counting the days since she last had a dead body to investigate – in this case 453 days to be precise. As she sits twiddling her thumbs, there are other things on her mind.
Her boss, D.C.I. Jackson has gone off on a break and rumours abound that he may make it permanent. That’s disappointing for Fiona, because she knows her boss understands her way of working, but her newly promoted colleague, Inspector Bleddyn Jones, is a very different kettle of fish, and they get along about as well as chalk and cheese. Jones is very much the procedural policeman. Everything is by the book and he has little time for those such as Fiona who like to follow their own path and work instinctively.
Fiona has a lively personality, but as you learn more about her, you understand that her background and family don’t necessarily lend themselves to the career of a homicide detective, coupled with which, Fiona has a rare mental health condition which flares up from time to time and which will again rear its head during the course of her investigation.
The murder of Gaynor Charteris, a respected archaeologist, has been carried out in a pretty grotesque manner. Decapitated and her head put on display, she has been stabbed with three Iron Age spears.
Bleddyn Jones is convinced that this must be the work of a local ‘nutter’, but Fiona is less convinced and when she befriends a PhD student, Katie at the dig that Katie and Charteris were working on, she soon finds that the picture may well be more complex than anyone understands and she begins to follow a trail that will take her into the world of academia, violent criminals and a vast conspiracy worth millions.
After a slow start, I soon warmed to Fiona and quickly got caught up in the story. Though this is the 6th Fiona Griffiths story, it works perfectly well as a standalone novel, and I didn’t feel I had missed anything not having read all the others.
I enjoyed the mythological aspect of the book (if indeed you believe that the story of King Arthur is mythology) and the way in which Bingham cleverly weaves the story in and out of the legendary King’s time into the present day.
This is an enjoyable story, well told with lots of unpredictable turns and I would happily read more in the Fiona Griffiths series. It’s out in e-book today and is only 99p as I write. Get clicking!
The Deepest Grave is published by Orion on 15th June 2017.