Monday, September 20, 2021

Aubrey Nye Hamilton Reviews: No Simple Death by Valerie Keogh


Valerie Keogh is a Dublin native who now lives in England. She is a former nurse who writes two crime series, the Hudson and Connolly books and the Dublin Murder Mysteries, and stand-alone psychological thrillers.

No Simple Death (Bloodhound Books, 2019) is the first book in what is now called the Dublin Murder Mysteries. Originally it was published as a Garda West novel on Amazon’s independent publishing platform in 2017 under the title That One May Smile. While I was able to find blog reviews of this first version, I found none in any of the usual sources for reviews and I could not find copies for sale.

Sergeant Michael West responds with his partner Detective Peter Andrews and a full scene of the crime team to a call about a violent death in a church cemetery in an upscale Dublin suburb. A nearby resident Edel Johnson reported the grisly discovery. Johnson had come to the attention of the police three months earlier when her husband disappeared. He has not been seen since and the missing persons case has gone cold. Now she’s finding a murdered man she claims not to know. The police are understandably curious about her role in both incidents but before they can question her in more detail, she disappears.

The investigation takes West and Andrews to Cornwall and to Cork, back to Cornwall and finally to Belfast, with some scenic descriptions along the way, where it all comes together in a deviously crafted plot, one of the most original I have seen in a long while.

This is a fine police procedural. Hints of the psychological thrillers that Keogh writes lurk in the background but they do not overshadow the focus on the police investigative process. West is a down-to-earth and likable character, who as a solicitor who decided to seek greater career fulfillment in law enforcement. His partner Andrews is a perfect foil for West’s shortcomings as an investigator. The ever-disappearing Edel Johnson, who was Kelly Johnson in the original version of this book, is distraught at the loss of what she thought was the perfect marriage. West is immediately attracted to her and this interest drives some of his decisions perilously close to a line that professionals ethically cannot cross. This romantic interest was handled realistically, one of the aspects of the plot that I liked. Between the great plot twists and the police investigation and the handling of character interactions, there is a lot to like in this book. Recommended!


·         Publisher:  Bloodhound Books (November 28, 2019)

·         Language:  English

·         Paperback:  308 pages

·         ISBN-10:  1913419207

·         ISBN-13:  978-1913419202

Aubrey Nye Hamilton ©2021

Aubrey Hamilton is a former librarian who works on Federal It projects by day and reads mysteries at night.

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