Bridge of Sighs by Priscilla Masters

‘She had worked it all out, step by step.’

Two violent deaths, both apparent suicides, leave Shrewsbury Coroner Martha Gunn with some difficult questions.  First, the death of Gina Marconi.   You’d think that Gina had everything to live for.  She was a barrister with a successful career, had a young son, and was about to marry her loving fiancé. So why did she leave her home one night and drive her car into a stone wall?

And then, Patrick Elson, a twelve-year-old schoolboy, jumps to his death from a bridge on to the A5. Why?

Neither of these deaths makes sense.  And while Martha Gunn tries to answer some of the  questions these deaths raise,  there’s a third unexplained death. DI Alex Randall is Martha Gunn’s friend, and when his wife Erica dies suddenly, she feels unable to take on the case.  Could Alex Randall have murdered his wife?  It’s known that their relationship was difficult.

‘Alone in her office, she had far too much time to reflect.’

So, where Martha would usually seek assistance from Alex, she cannot.  She also feels constrained by her own friendship with him, and she has some concerns about her daughter.  Will Martha find answers to both the personal issues concerning her as well as about the deaths?

This is the seventh novel to feature Coroner Martha Gunn of Shrewsbury, UK, but it is the first that I’ve read.  While I enjoyed the story, I was impatient with the amount of time spent while Martha agonised.  I could understand her focus on aspects of the cases she was investigating, but I found the amount of personal agonising disconcerting.  That said, I will be looking to read other books in this series.  I found Martha an interesting character and I want to read more about her.

 

Note: My thanks to NetGalley and Severn House for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith