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Salt Lane    by William Shaw order for
Salt Lane
by William Shaw
Order:  USA  Can
Mulholland, 2018 (2018)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

In Salt Lane, Detective Sergeant Alexandra Cupidi has transferred to Kent from London's metropolitan police service, after an affair with a senior married colleague came to light. Now she's been assigned junior officer Jill Ferriter to mentor as they investigate the case of a dead woman (identified as Hilary Keen) found floating in local marsh land, the cause of death unclear.

The story opens before this, on the 1995 deaths of two small boys when the hippie caravan they are sleeping in goes on fire. Next, we see a middle class family in London disrupted by the arrival of a homeless woman who claims to be the father's mother. Though he was told his mother was dead when he was adopted at age two, graphic designed Julian Keen believes her, but his wife Lulu is not so accepting. The odd thing is that this woman knocked on their door when the body identified as Hilary Keen was being pulled from the water.

While the investigation develops, Alex receives calls from her colleague in London - he wants to renew their affair and she doesn't. She also worries about her teen daughter Zoe, who seems depressed and roams the countryside on her summer vacation, fascinated with bird watching. Given how busy she is with the investigation, Alex convinces her aging mother to join them in Kent, to help keep track of Zoe.

There are more deaths and a link to exploitation of undocumented workers. In Salt Lane, William Shaw presents an intriguing puzzle, with an engaging (impulsive and very persistent) lead and a delightful setting. Action escalates to a heart stopping finale, that almost is the end of Alex. Fortunately, it's not, and I hope to read more of her exploits in future.

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