When the charred remains of a man are found at his flat, it is initially thought that it is a case of accidental death. As other burnt bodies are found, each with a cryptic message sprayed nearby in orange paint, Coroner’s Officer, DI Ridpath, begins to fear that there is a serial killer on the streets of Manchester. The detective soon finds himself taken back to the city’s dark past and knows he must close the case before more bodies are discovered.
This is the third in the series and after the ending of the previous book, I was eager to discover what had happened to Ridpath. Fans of previous books will already know that the detective has been fighting a battle with a serious illness and there is always the threat that it will return. I was pleased to read that all seems to be well (despite an incident nearly putting him back in hospital!) and that things are definitely improving in his personal life.
The nature of Ridpath’s job, seconded to the coroner’s office, means that he is often caught in the middle of his two superiors. As a result, his theories are often overlooked and he finds it difficult to convince people that there is a serial killer operating. It was good to see him working more closely with the coroner, who we find has a personal connection to one aspect of the case. We have got to know Ridpath really well over the three books, but it was good to find out a bit more about the coroner and see a more emotional side of her.
There are several emotive subjects dealt with in When the Silence Calls, namely historic child abuse and homelessness, all of which was dealt with sensitively. I was surprised to find that some of the subject matter was, coincidentally, the same as my previous read (The Quiet Ones by Theresa Talbot), but this did not spoil my enjoyment of the plot in any way.
The mystery is a good one and I was pleased that the killer was revealed as someone in my shortlist of two! If you haven’t read any of the previous books, then this can be read as a standalone, but it is such a good series with a likeable, tenacious protagonist that you will be missing out if you haven’t! Ridpath continues to be one of the detectives that I most enjoy reading about.
With thanks to Canelo and Net Galley for my ARC.
Read my reviews of the other two books in the series: