The body of a man is found near to an Anglo-Saxon burial site but his dental fillings show that this is not an ancient burial. DCI Craig Gillard is tasked with solving the case but identification of the body is proving difficult. Everything seems to point towards it belonging to Ozzy Blanchard, a man who disappeared some months ago and was working for the same company that have now uncovered the body. When it is revealed that metal lodged in the neck is part of an Anglo-Saxon dagger, Gillard is perplexed. Just who is the body beneath the willows?
This is the ninth book in the series but can be read as a standalone if you have not read any of the previous books. There are some references to events in previous books but nothing that would spoil your enjoyment should you go back and read the rest.
This is, at times, quite a complex plot with a lot happening as, in addition to the murder, there are sub-plots involving some of the characters that we meet along the way. Thanks to the skilled writing of the author, however, the story is easy to follow and keeps you engaged throughout. There are a few surprises that long-time readers of the series will enjoy and some hints as to potential events in future books.
This is the first book I have read that mentions the Covid pandemic and I liked the way that Nick Louth handled this, referring to it but not making it a major part of the story. This definitely gave an added sense of realism to the book and I will be interested to read if other authors manage to do this as well in their books.
With thanks to Canelo Crime and Net Galley for my ARC.