After returning from maternity leave after the birth of her twins, DCI Monika Paniatowski is thrown straight in at the deep end when the body of mother of three, Jane Danbury, is found brutally murdered at her own home. Although Paniatowski is convinced from the outset that the victim’s husband, William, is the prime suspect, she faces pressure from those in authority as he is a councillor with friends in high places. The case soon takes a turn for the worse and the whole focus of the investigation shifts from a straightforward murder hunt to something far more harrowing…
Due to not having read any of the previous books in the series, I initially found it hard to get to grips with the characters as I felt that we were given information that was not needed as part of the plot. As the story progressed, however, I found that the story moved on at a quicker pace and I began to get a lot more engrossed. Setting the book in the 1970s is a great plot device as it gives the author a chance to show police procedures at the time when modern forensics was in its infancy. Also, at a time when high-ranking female police officers were very few and far between, Monika Paniatowski is portrayed as a strong character, fighting off sexism as she goes about her every day police business.
Sally Spencer addresses several taboo subjects in ‘Thicker than Water’, not least the issue of domestic violence, and at times you can almost feel yourself wincing as you sense what is about to happen.
I would recommend this book but I feel that it would be advisable to read the previous books in the series in order to build up the back stories of the main characters.