Talking to the Dead

"Talking to the Dead’ is an innovative book that tackles the crime novel from a different angle."


DC Fiona Griffiths has a reputation for being a lose cannon having nearly crippled a man she was questioning who tried to grope her. He won’t do that again in a hurry. Her superior officer, DCI Jackson believes she is a worthy police officer and has gained a place on his team, but knows Griffiths needs a close eye on her.

When Janet Mancini and her six year old daughter, April are found murdered in a filthy flat Griffiths strongly feels the cries of the innocent. Janet Mancini was a heroin addict who had tried to clean her act and had been living decently for some time. So why, just weeks before her death, did Janet move her and her daughter in to a hovel and hide away? What was she scared of? Whatever it was finally caught up with her and Griffiths is determined that she will personally find out who killed them both in such a horrific manner.

And then there is the other case – the embezzler and ex-cop Penry who appears to have had links with the dead millionaire, Rattigan. And the supposedly dead man’s body was never found, evidently currently languishing at the bottom of the Severn estuary. So what is Penry’s link to Rattigan and why was the dead man’s Platinum card found in a hovel with two dead bodies a year after his death? Griffith tries to play by the rules but soon her maverick side can no longer be kept in check.

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‘Talking to the Dead’ heralds the introduction of DC Griffiths who is anything but a normal Detective Constable. From the beginning there are those two mysterious years when Fiona Griffiths vanished from the rest of the world. Automatically I was intrigued and felt that I was reading something that was slightly out of the norm. Although he has written several novels, this is Bingham’s first attempt at a crime novel – and it is a remarkable novel, indeed. You can tell that Bingham has a flare for character as each one is individually and carefully drawn. The book is written in the first person present tense so that you are inside Griffiths mind hearing her thoughts and point of view – and you can tell pretty much from the beginning that Griffiths has definite issues to contend with which include herself and the way the rest of the world works. I feel Bingham was brave to write in this manner as it did take a while to settle in to the novel, but with the ending it all comes full circle. Bingham drops hints as to what it is that could be afflicting Griffiths and there is a disturbing scene when Griffiths is in the morgue with the victims – to her they are so much more than simply dead. But before you start believing Griffiths ‘see’s dead people’, think again. There is a double whammy to the end of ‘Talking to the Dead’ which explains Griffiths’ behaviour but the other revelation also opens the door to another mystery that Bingham has said will be explored in subsequent books. ‘Talking to the Dead’ is an innovative book that tackles the crime novel from a different angle. That is to be applauded and I am sure that Griffiths is certainly a detective that will appeal to many readers of the crime genre. Exceptional.

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