Saturday, November 12, 2016

Past Tense: Margot Kinberg

When bones are discovered buried at a construction site on the Tilton campus, of course Joel Williams, a professor in the Criminal Justice department and former policeman, is interested. The case turns out to be from the past; the bones have been buried at least 40 years. And the first step for the police is determining who went missing at about that time. Once the victim is identified as Bryan Roades, a journalism student, the police look for people he knew at the time of his death. Luckily some of them are still around in the area and available to question. Others who were close to him begin to surface on their own and provide more information.

Joel Williams is the continuing character in Margot Kinberg's series set at Tilton University. He becomes more actively involved in this case when he is the one to discover another body. The crime may be related to Bryan's death, maybe not. Joel is an amateur sleuth in one sense because he is a professor, but his background in the police gives him expertise and access to the police department. In this book, there are two detectives assigned to the case and the reader follows their progress in the investigation. So this novel could be considered a hybrid mix of amateur sleuth mystery and police procedural.

The discovery of the first body is made during finals week, but the investigation continues into the summer break. As the detectives talk with the people who were involved in Bryan's life at the time of his death, they gradually get a picture of what he was doing at the time that could lead to his death.

I liked that the reader gets to know both the investigators and other people involved in the investigation. We get enough background on Bryan's associates to form a developing picture of the situation at his death. Everyone has their quirks and seem like real people. The detective pair are addicted to coffee, and I loved this because I always have to have enough caffeine in my day. I prefer tea as my source of caffeine, but I could sympathize with that habit. It was a nice touch. Also the senior detective in the pair was sometimes resentful of the new guy jumping in on the investigation, but they worked out their relationship amicably.

The pacing was very good. My interest was maintained from beginning to end and I read the book in two days, very quick for me with the amount of time I have for reading. The mystery plot is handled well also, with enough clues and just enough red herrings.

I read the print version and it has 421 pages. However the print is a good size and the spacing on the page is generous, so it is a good reading experience and not as long as some books with the same page count. So don't be put off by the length, this is a nice, entertaining read and you don't want to miss this traditional mystery.

This is the third Joel Williams mystery. I reviewed the first book, Publish or Perish; I read B-Very Flat recently, liked it a lot, and will be reviewing it here later.

See other reviews by:
Moira at Clothes in Books
Bernadette at Reactions to Reading
Kerri at Mysteries in Paradise

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Publisher:  Grey Cells Press, 2016.
Length:      421 pages
Format:      Trade paperback
Series:       Joel Williams #3
Genre:       Mystery
Source:      I purchased this book.

10 comments:

  1. Thanks very much, Tracy. I'm so glad you enjoyed Past Tense, and it means a lot to me that you took the time to post a review.

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    1. It was my pleasure to read your book and post about it, Margot. I did enjoy it a lot... and what a lovely cover.

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  2. Snap! I posted on it too, and agree with all you say. A really good book...

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    1. It was a very good read, Moira, and easy to review.

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  3. I concur also with your sentiments Tracy...an excellent classic-style mystery

    I have to ask...is he called Brian (with an I) in the version you read? He's definitely Bryan (with a Y) in the kindle version I read - wonder whether this was something Margot changed at some point and it's not picked up in one version or other

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    1. Thanks for pointing that out, Bernadette. It was my spelling error, and I have now corrected it, and also added links to recent reviews, including yours and Moira's.

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  4. Tracy, I look forward to reading PAST TENSE and introduce myself to Joel Williams. Margot has an easy and lighthearted style that I find appealing.

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    1. I know you will like the book, Prashant.

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  5. I have this too now and am really looking forward to it - thanks Tracy.

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    1. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the book, Sergio.

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