On holiday in the beautiful White Peak area of Derbyshire (so called because of the limestone – as opposed the Dark Peak of granite) I remarked to my cousins that I wished I knew of a contemporary writer (preferably of crime fiction) who set their novels in the area.
I popped into the Tourist Information office in Ashbourne, and there, alongside maps and guides for walkers, was a pile of novels by Stephen Booth an author unknown to me. It seems he writes crime novels and they are set in Derbyshire – perfect! I picked up one at random, intriguingly called The Corpse Bridge and back home at the cottage where we were staying, I plunged in. Just by chance it was set in the corner of the county where we were, and we’d passed by or through the places mentioned – even more perfect!
The old Corpse Bridge is the route taken for centuries by mourners from villages on the western fringes of Derbyshire to a burial ground across the River Dove, now absorbed into the landscaped parkland of a stately home. When Earl Manby, the landowner, announces plans to deconsecrate the burial ground to turn it into a car park for his holiday cottages, bodies begin to appear once again on the road to the Corpse Bridge. Is there a connection with the Earl’s plans? Or worse, is there a terrifying serial killer at work?
Back in his job after the traumatic events of previous months, Detective Sergeant Ben Cooper knows that he must unravel the mystery of the Corpse Bridge if he’s going to be able to move on with his life. As the pressure builds, Ben doesn’t know who he can trust and, when the case reaches breaking point, he has to make a call that could put everything – and everyone – at risk…
I discovered that it’s the fourteenth in the series so I have plenty more to read, another seventeen to catch up on!