Saturday, May 4, 2019

An Unhallowed Grave - Mystery Review

Goodreads:  An Unhallowed Grave (Wesley Peterson #3) by Kate Ellis

Rating: Very Good
Source:  Purchased

Description:  When the body of a middle-aged woman is found hanging from a yew tree in Stokeworthy Churchyard, the police suspect foul play. But the victim is an unlikely one. Pauline Brent was the local doctor's receptionist, respected and well liked. She seems to have no real enemies-and yet someone killed her.
Detective Sergeant Wesley Peterson, a black detective recently transferred to the quiet, West Country English village, is determined to discover the truth and, once again, it is history that provides him with a clue. For Wesley's archaeologist friend, Neil Watson, has excavated an ancient corpse at a nearby dig: a woman who had been buried at a crossroads, on unhallowed ground. It appears that the body is that of the same woman whom local legend has it was publicly executed in the churchyard centuries before.

A chilling echo of the fifteenth-century lynching, Pauline Brent's death forces Wesley to consider the possibility that the killer also knows the tree's dark history. Has Pauline been "executed" rather than murdered-and if so, for what crime?

To catch a dangerous killer, Wesley has to discover as much as he can about the victim. But Pauline Brent appears to have been a woman with few friends, no relatives, and a past she has tried carefully to hide...

Genre: Mystery

Why I Picked This Book:  I love a police procedural and I enjoyed an earlier book by this author years and years ago.

My Impression:  The Wesley Peterson series is one I discovered quite by accident years and years ago.  I stumbled on a mystery with a title that caught my eye (can't remember what it was now) in my favorite used bookstore.  I brought it home, read it, promptly fell in love and then was never able to find another one until the last year or two.  While I've been collecting mysteries in this series for awhile now this is actually my first revisit to the series I fell in love with back in college.  So did it live up to my expectations? Absolutely!

 I loved Wesley.  He's smart and incredibly logical with a sense of humor and an interest in all things archeological.  He's also part of a "new breed" of police and considered somewhat of a whiz kid with his university degree.  Being one of the few black detectives there is occasionally some racial tension as well.  I loved his relationship with his wife Pam.  She's home with a new baby and trying not to resent that her husband is frequently called away on very little notice.  As well, she's struggling with finding childcare that she is comfortable with when she goes back to work as a teacher in a few months.  There's also some interaction with Wesley's superior officer Gerry who is a bit lonely and a fairly recent widower.

This is a straight up police procedural.  It's well paced and an interesting mystery.  I loved the historical elements and how they wove into the present day mystery.  I had all kinds of ideas and theories as to just what had happened but every time I thought I had it locked down I'd be proven wrong.  This was a short read but fully developed and entertaining. While this series is on the older side (this book was published in 1999) it's a don't miss if you're a fan of police procedurals.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I have a number of other books in this series and am looking forward to reading it.

Would I Recommend this Book?  I would.  If you enjoy British Police Procedurals than I think you'd really like this series.


  1. Well this sounds excellent! I am a huge fan of British Police Procedurals and I've also picked up a few from this series at book sales. I noticed your review mostly because I just recently finished a book called Unhallowed Ground by Mel Starr. Such similar titles. It was British, but 14th century and is similar - short and satisfying.

  2. This sounds good and I enjoy a good police procedural mystery.