Written by Harry Bingham
Delacorte Press, 2013; 390 pages
D.C. Fiona Griffiths is facing the prospect of a dull weekend when the call comes in, something about illegal dumping in a Cardiff suburb. But when she arrives on the scene she finds, in a garage freezer, a severed human leg, complete with a pink suede high-heeled shoe.
South Wales police are able to ID the body part as that of a young woman who went missing five years earlier; a young woman who once made a living as an exotic dancer. All at once, Fiona’s job as a detective and her role as a loving daughter collide: Fiona’s father owns a Cardiff strip club and was once deeply involved in the local crime scene.
Still in recovery from a devastating psychotic breakdown, Fiona is wary of exploring a path that might end at her father’s door... And as she is just starting to get into the murdered girl’s head, a severed hand is found — and this one is male.... The answers may be more than Fiona can handle. Because in order to solve the riddle of these hideous murders, D.C. Fiona Griffiths will have to delve into the mysteries of her past....
Love Story, With Murders is the second novel in Harry Bingham's mystery series featuring DC Fiona Griffiths -- the first was Talking to the Dead, published in 2012. I haven't read that first book, and I'm not sure if that fact had any influence on my overall negative reaction to this second one. I suppose it's always better to start at the beginning of a series, and although I can't really say this was a book I enjoyed, it had some good moments. Griffiths is definitely a memorable character, and not unsympathetic. Still, I'm not sure I'd recommend the book to other readers -- and I'd definitely want to know their squeamishness quotient before turning them on to it (those severed body parts just keep on popping up).
I think my main problem with the novel was that I just never warmed to the main character, DC Griffiths. I tend to prefer sleuths who are not so -- well, damaged. When the detective's personal story starts overshadowing the mystery he/she is trying to solve, I begin to lose interest fairly quickly. And that's just what happened here, and why it took me many weeks to get through this one. Not a terrible read, but it really didn't make me want to go further with the series.
I received my copy of Love Story, With Murders through LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program. No other compensation was received, and no one influenced my opinion of the book.