Tell No Tales | Eva Dolan | 2015p | Harvill Secker | 379p | Review copy | Buy the book
One early morning in Peterborough a vehicle purposefully crashes into a bus shelter, severely hurting several people and killing Jelena Krasic. Jelena, just like her sister Sofia who was injured in the attack, is an immigrant to Britain. The chances are that they, and the others in the shelter, were targeted. DS Ferreira and DI Zigic of Peterborough Hate Crimes Unit are put on the case, hoping that it could prove simple to solve, especially when Sofia gives them a name. The fear, though, is that the hit and run could be linked to a series of murders that are terrorising the town, all of which appear to be racially motivated and with neo-Nazi overtones. Matters aren’t helped by Richard Shotton, head of a new right-wing party, who is campaigning for election and stirring up the local community, raising its temperature, meddling with the political repercussions of these dreadful, sickeningly violent murders.
Ferreira and Zigic are almost overwhelmed by coping with two such high-profile cases. Having to deal with members of the community who have good reason to fear the police makes matters worse. Secrets are commonplace, even within families, meaning that Sofia, deeply distressed though she is, might not be telling the police the whole story about her sister. As for finding a connection between the murders, this is proving hard to find. Shotton, and the men who work for him, have their own agenda. And, meanwhile, as the body count rises, troubling stories emerge about the past of some of the most disadvantaged members of the Peterborough community.
Tell No Tales is the second in Eva Dolan’s series to feature Ferreira and Zigic. I have yet to read the first, Long Way Home, and this didn’t matter at all. There are no spoilers for the first novel and I soon found myself enjoying the Ferreira and Zigic partnership. The focus in this novel at least is very much on the case and far less on private lives and I rather enjoyed that. The novel’s strength definitely lies in its writing, which is superb. The relationship between Sofia and her sister is tenderly drawn and Sofia herself is expertly, and painfully, painted. I’m not familiar with Peterborough at all but the novel presents a fascinating portrait of a richly diverse community that is going through troubling times.
The plot of Tell No Tales isn’t just gripping, it’s also full of the most satisfying twists and surprises. I felt emotionally involved with several of the novel’s victims while thoroughly enjoying my first encounter with two detectives that I will be sure to follow through future investigations.