Sunday, 17 July 2011

Book Review: THE ORPHEUS TRAIL BY MAUREEN DUFFY


Genre:  Crime, Thriller
Published by:  Arcadia Books  (Aug 2010)
Pages:  210  (Paperback)
Source:  From the Publishers
My Rating:  8/10

About the Book: 

When the body of a child is found among the charred remains of a pier fire - surrounded by a ritualistic fire basket and items associated with the cult of the Greek god Dionysus - detective inspector Hildreth calls in the local museum's curator, Alex Kish, to help him decipher the mysterious symbolism. Soon after, an ancient Saxon amulet is stolen from the museum and the dead bodies of other young boys begin to turn up arranged as grotesque works of art with components of the gold amulet around their necks. The enigmatic detective inspector draws the curator into a strange web of ancient secrets, pagan ritualism, and the illegal trafficking of young boys. Hildreth and Kish are caught up in a race against time to interpret these ancient codes and clues before death claims another young life.

This is a decent thriller, and at just over 200 pages long I thought it was just long enough to keep my interest but not too long that I got bored.

The main protagonist is Alex, a museum curator in a seaside town, who comes across as quite likeable and very imaginative if a little indecisive.  He is taken into the confidence of the local Detective (an armchair archaeologist himself)  who trusts his judgement and knowledge on the Greek myths which seem to be a recurring theme in the young boys’ murders.

It seems that there is somebody with a knowledge of ancient beliefs who is killing boys in bizarre circumstances.  Together with Hilary, an expert from the London museum, they try and discover who is carrying out these killings.  

Maureen Duffy is a poet and her descriptive writing paints a wonderful picture of a cold and miserable seaside town just after Christmas and the aftermath of the discovery of another body -

The town decorations were still up but the chains of light swinging in a cold wind from the grey edgy sea looked exhausted and forlorn.  The party was over.  The millenium that had begun with such optimism in a glittering firework of hope and energy, of relief that the bloody 20th century was behind us, had been eclipsed almost at once by the choking fumes of despair as the juggernaut rolled out again in all its trappings of torn flesh and bloodied wounds.

Alex and Hilary discover that there is more to the boys' murders than first suspected and it seems that someone is watching them.......  

This was an intelligent thriller that wasn’t exactly a page turner but I enjoyed it overall.

Special Thanks to the Publishers for sending me this book to review.

The website for Maureen Duffy is here



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