Author: Nicholas Rhea
Book: Omens of Death (Montague Pluke #1)
Published: October 2015
Publisher: Endeavour Press
Detective Inspector Montague Pluke is an officer with Criminal Investigation Department (CID) at the Crickledale Sub-Divisional Police Station. He is a superstitious man. When he sees a solitary crow on the roof of a neighbor’s home, he sees it as an omen of death. As it is his ambition to solve a murder before he retires, this omen of death seems to be an act of providence. A body of a naked woman is found at a local druid circle. Then a photographer who was photographing the druid circle is found shot in the nearby town of Fossford. The clues pile up, but so do the questions. Questions someone apparently does not want answered.
Omens of Death fits the definition of a cozy mystery. The tale takes place in the natural peace of Crickledale. The protagonist is a quirky, superstitious DI (that’s detective inspector). Mr. Rhea sets up an interesting story of scandal and murder in small-town England. It makes use of some basic English mystery formulas, and the dialogue is quite quirky. However, what could have been a fast paced page turner was slowed down by the authors’s telling instead of showing. Long narrative descriptions take up large portions of the story. The story telling itself is enjoyable, once you get used to the writing style, but it is not a page turner.