Orion | 2019 (7 March) | 432p | Review copy | Buy the book
It’s just before Christmas when the body of a young man is found stabbed to death in a Newcastle street. DCI David Stone suspects a robbery gone wrong but, when DS Frankie Oliver arrives on scene, she gets a terrible shock. The dead man is Chris Adams a court reporter with the Herald. Frankie’s known Chris since they were children together. They were the best of friends. David and Frankie soon learn that Chris believed he was working on a case that would make his career. He suddenly left a group of friends in the pub. He was never seen alive again. Who was he meeting, what was the story he was investigating and who would kill to cover it up?
The Scandal is the third novel by Mari Hannah to feature Newcastle detectives Stone and Oliver. I’ve enjoyed all three – to be fair, I’ve enjoyed everything Mari Hannah has ever written! – but I do think that The Scandal might be my favourite of this series. As with all of the author’s novels, they stand out for their detectives. Kate Daniels remains one of my absolute favourites, but she has rivals in the shape of Matthew Ryan and now David Stone and Frankie Oliver.
Stone has now settled into his job back at home in the north east after years away working for the Met in London. Awful events drove him away from London but his mind is more focused now on the job in hand and on bringing his team together. He’s doing a good job and he has the full support of his DS, Frankie Oliver, who is the third generation to police this region. It isn’t easy for her to follow in their footsteps, especially as her father continues to demand the respect of everyone in the force and still has his ear close to the ground. But she’s managed it. Working from the bottom up, Frankie has made her role her own, although she’s the first to admit that her indomitable father does come in handy at time. She too has tragedy in her history, but she’s laid some ghosts to rest. Regrettably for Frankie, she’s about to get a new ghost to deal with – her childhood best friend Chris Adams.
The relationship between Stone and Oliver is so well presented and is just as important to the novel as the fate of Chris Adams. Mari Hannah is such a fine observer of human behaviour and interaction. Friendships and families, the young and the elderly, play a significant role and it’s especially sad to see how one family in particular has to deal with loss.
I love the meticulous investigating that forms the backbone of The Scandal. This is such a good police procedural. The case is built, step upon step, and we watch it form, becoming distracted at times by red herrings, but marvelling at how it all comes together. This isn’t, I’m pleased to say, a mystery dependent upon twists. This is an investigation built upon solid police work and intricate plotting. It’s a clever novel told very well indeed that builds carefully, resulting in a rewarding and immersive read.
I’m delighted to post this review for the Blog Tour. For other stops on the tour, do take a look at the poster below.