1907. The vicar’s housemaid is murdered one stormy night. Local police constable William Palmer is desperate to solve the case and progress his career as well as impress his sweetheart Alice. There are three main suspects but all seem to have an alibi…
The Wickham Market Murder is the first in a new series of novellas to feature William Palmer and Inspector Bloomfield.
Evelyn Roberts is stabbed to death at the Wickham Market vicarage. She was unmarried and six months pregnant so the child’s father is immediately assumed to have a strong motive, but who could it be? Each of the suspects has an alibi so Palmer is forced to rely on the expertise of Inspector Bloomfield who arrives from Ipswich.
I really liked William Palmer’s character. He is keen and eager to impress his community as well as his superior officer. Bloomfield seemed over confident to me and I felt he was more interested in making an arrest than finding the killer. The focus was more on the police characters and their procedures in the 1900s than the victim or suspects.
The style of writing is quite modern and almost chatty. This felt a little anachronistic with the time period the novella is set in but I quite liked it as it felt quirky. There were a couple of final twists that I was pleased I had managed to guess. The ending is quite heartbreaking and I felt so emotional about the use of capital punishment in this case.
The Wickham Market Murder was an entertaining novella and I look forward to reading about William’s next case and finding out if his romance with Alice moves on.
Suffolk, 1907. Wickham Market’s local constable William Palmer spends his days yearning to solve a significant case so he can earn his detective’s badge.
But Palmer is torn, because he is also in love with the school mistress Alice Kemp who doesn’t want to leave the village.
One night, the night of a dramatic storm, there is a murder. A housemaid – Evelyn Maud Roberts – is found stabbed to death at the local vicarage.
Palmer has his chance to make a name for himself.
The local doctor declares that Evelyn was six months pregnant.
And the vicar’s daughter, Charlotte Mellor, names three men who may have reason to commit murder; Walter Fisk, soon-to-be-master at the workhouse; Albert Nunn, the postman; Frederick Hawes, the slow-witted village boy in love with Evelyn.
Palmer investigates. But he only has so much time before Inspector Bloomfield – the veteran detective from Suffolk Police – arrives from Ipswich to take over the case.
Iain Maitland is the author of three previous psych thrillers, The Scribbler (2020), Mr Todd’s Reckoning (2019) and Sweet William (2017), all published by Contraband, an imprint of Saraband. Mr Todd’s Reckoning is coming to the big screen in 2023.
Iain is also the author of two memoirs, Dear Michael, Love Dad (Hodder, 2016), a book of letters written to his eldest son who experienced depression and anorexia, and (co-authored with Michael) Out Of The Madhouse (Jessica Kingsley, 2018).
He is also an Ambassador for Stem4, the teenage mental health charity. He talks regularly about mental health issues in schools and colleges and workplaces.
Find out more about Iain at www.iainmaitland.net and twitter.com/iainmaitland