Salt Lane by William Shaw – Book Review

This is the first book in what I believe to be a new series by William Shaw.

Detective Sergeant Alexandra (Alex) Cupidi recently transferred from the Metropolitan Police in London to Kent, along with her teenage daughter in order to start fresh after an affair with a co-worker.  She has been assigned to show a new young constable, Jill Ferriter, the ropes and to keep a professional eye on her.

The first case involves the body of a homeless woman found in a marsh in Salt Lane.  The coroner is not able to determine the cause of death but the autopsy is conclusive that she did not drown.  Soon a second body is found in a septic tank full of cow manure.  Alex is having difficulties finding anyone that can identify both deceased but it appears that the man found in the septic tank may have been an unregistered illegal.

This book examines the issue of illegal immigration; an issue that is very current in today’s headlines.  As the author delves into the issue of England carefully deciding who can immigrate and who cannot, a catch 22 occurs whereby many of the jobs in the service industry available in the country are not wanted by the citizens of England and so many employers such as farmers hire illegal immigrants in order to get their orchard crops harvested but know that they are breaking the law by doing so.  I found it to be an interesting story line that is relevant also to Canada.

Alex’s character can rub people the wrong way sometimes but Jill Ferriter seemed to soften those edges when they were partnered together.  We are also introduced to Zoe, Alex’s teenage daughter who loves bird watching and spends enormous amounts of time enjoying this hobby.  For quite a few years Alex had had a tense relationship with her mother but when she needed her mother to come to Kent and help because Alex was working such long hours and Zoe needed more supervision, it gave them an opportunity to mend old misunderstandings.

I found it an enjoyable read and I will continue to look for future books with these characters.

Salt Lane

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