Cover Image: Cruel as the Grave

Cruel as the Grave

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher, Severn House for this Advanced Reader Copy and the opportunity to review “Cruel as the Grave.” All opinions are my own.

To begin – fitness fanatic’s been murdered.  Conventional wisdom says the latest girlfriend did it.  But our Bill Slider has his doubts.  They let her go, and have to start putting together a case for other suspects.  Who did the guy make angry?  What’s the lad been up to?  Fella seems rather boring, except for the womanizing and the mounds of hidden cash.  Expect Slider and his cohorts to figure it out handily in “Cruel in the Grave,” the 22nd in the series.  How can you go wrong with a book where one of the characters is described as having “teeth so big you could have tiled a swimming pool with them?”  Well, you can’t, not with Cynthia Harrod-Eagles behind the words.  

Lots of folks in this book have alibis, but wonky ones, and also a lot of ‘em don’t have a whole lot of brains, so Slider and his crew are having to take their time to figure this one out.  And what’s the deal when we finally meet the famous writer and her husband?  Because it can’t be that easy.  Get your little grey cells working.

Jealousy, blackmail, more jealousy.  Slider has to remind his detectives they’re not just doing an intellectual puzzle; they have a murder victim.  Okay, he was a slimeball, but, still.  There’s a bunch of pieces to put together – it’s a good thing that Britain has so many of those traffic cameras, for they help to bring a killer to heel.  As Atherton, Slider’s bagman, reminds us, “it keeps us in a job.”

Always happy to dive into another DI Bill Slider book.  Guaranteed to be top notch entertainment while offering up a thorough police investigation.  And as usual, the chapter headings are hilarious.  The book is straightforward, no nonsense prose, with the humor built-in that’s a cornerstone of the series.  Oh, and of course, there’s always a side story with family, and thus Joanna, the pregnant Mrs. Slider; for longtime fans of the series (and you should be), it’s time for that baby!  Read the book to find out what happens.
Was this review helpful?
Ever said, "I would kill for that body"?

Someone actually does in the new Bill Slider. But who?

-- One of the teenagers Erik, the personal trainer, specializies in loving and leaving?
-- Erik's best friend, for loving and leaving his sister?
-- One of his rich clients?

Cynthia Harrod-Eagles tells the story in her usual brilliant way, treating readers to updates on the lives of series principals, mixing the telling with many a pun and supervisory-level malapropism.

Was this review helpful?
I would like to thank Netgalley and Severn House Publishers for an advance copy of Cruel as the Grave, the twenty second novel to feature DCI Bill Slider of the Met.

Personal trainer Erik Lingoss is found battered to death with his own dumbbell by the girlfriend he just dumped. With blood on her clothes and an obsession with Erik she is immediately the prime suspect, but she didn’t leave £700 under his pillow or steal his mobile so perhaps there’s more to it.

I thoroughly enjoyed Cruel as the Grave which is an engrossing police procedural that held my attention from start to finish. To be fair, it isn’t the most original plot ever conceived but it works well and the author puts her own original stamp on it. I love a good police procedural as I like the format, the way it starts wide open to suspects and motives and narrows the field as facts emerge. I also enjoy the competing interpretations of these facts and the various interview strategies to obtain these facts. This novel has it all in spades as it revolves around the victimology, Erik Lingoss is hard to pin down, seemingly offering different versions of himself to different people. I think it is a clever novel which offers so many options before honing in on a chief suspect. There is food for thought throughout via a steady stream of reveals.

The novel is told entirely from the investigative point of view, mostly Bill Slider, but other members of the team jump in as required. I love the banter between the characters which makes me smile, but underlines their camaraderie and commitment. There is a good mixture of theory and forensics, not least CCTV which has become the detective’s new best friend. Ok, I won’t rant about big brother, but it’s an interesting topic.

Cruel as the Grave is a good read that I have no hesitation in recommending.
Was this review helpful?
Another wonderful outing with Bill Slider.  Harrod-Eagles's books are the high point of police procedurals for me - a great mystery but also witty, funny and with a cast of characters I care about and who represent real life.  Five stars.
Was this review helpful?
Dialogue Dances Off The Page.....
Bill Slider returns in this new instalment, unbelievably the twenty second in the series. A series which simply gets better and better, if that’s possible, by the book. Another wholly entertaining tale with wonderfully drawn characters, a compelling narrative and dryly witty dialogue which simply dances off the page. First class.
Was this review helpful?
I declare a bias. I have always loved the Bill Slider novels and their author, and this latest instalment does not disappoint.  Cruel as the Grave features the usual ingredients and  cast - including the dead body of an exceedingly good looking male fitness trainer, with no obvious motivation for murder. As always, Slider and his sidekick Atherton refuse to accept the obvious without proof, and get their regular team to uncover all sorts of information and evidence whilst being pressed for result by their chief, Porson,  and his mangled use of the English language. What I always enjoy, apart from the atrocious chapter heading puns, and the delicious dialogue and banter between Slider, heavily pregnant wife Joanna, and his police colleagues is the minute descriptions of the cast's foibles and characteristics along with showcasing the unremitting and painstaking work of the police in gathering evidence. That all said, if you are coming to this series for the first time, do not be put off. Prior knowledge is not a pre-requisite; it is very easy to pick up who is whom, and whilst a classic "whodunit" it is, as always, an entertaining read.
Was this review helpful?
I stumbled across the Bill Slider series about a year ago and read them all in quick succession.  I love the detective element but also the fact that the characters are rounded.  They have lives outwith the police station of which we see more or less depending on their role.  And they develop.  So when I saw that there was to be an addition to the series I was very happy.  And I remained happy after reading it..  If I'm completely honest, I don't think that the crime was the hardest the team has ever had to solve but it was a bit of a relief that it was just a straightforward murder investigation with no political ramifications.  And some of the bit players (in terms of the series as a whole) were particularly strong characters.  I hope there's still more to come.
Was this review helpful?
This was an absolutely extraordinary book which once I started reading the first few pages I just could not put down until the last gripping paragraph.

The murder of a personal fitness trainer draws DCI Bill Slider and his team into a baffling investigation where nothing is as it first appears. Fitness trainer Erik Lingoss is found dead in his west London flat, his head smashed by one of his own dumbbells. His heartlessly-dumped girlfriend, blood on her clothes and hands, is the prime suspect. She had means, opportunity, and motive. But is the case as clear-cut as it seems? Handsome Erik Lingoss had clients in high places; and he seemed to engender powerful emotions. If it was a crime of passion, there was plenty of that to go around: love strong as death, jealousy cruel as the grave. Who did he let in to his flat that evening? Where is his missing mobile phone? Why is seven hundred pounds in cash stuffed under his pillow? The deeper Slider and his team dig, the clearer it becomes there's far more to this case than meets the eye. 

This is the 22nd book in this series but there are four omnibus editions as well for newer readers whom want to read the earlier books more economically.
This book was absolutely a delight to read and I always look forward to reading the authors other books.   But the author does not only write detective stories,  she has also written 35 books in her Morland Dynasty saga together with six in her “War At Home” series and about 35 other books in romance, historical, fantasy and contemporary genres. She is also fond of writing letters to "The Daily Telegraph" on a number of current events that she likes to comment on and these are usually very insightful as are the regular letters from another author Frederick Forsyth.  

The author always writes these very interesting stories and police procedurals mainly based around Kensington and the west end of London describe police officers and their families that the regular reader gets to know very familiarly. Very strongly recommended
Was this review helpful?
Thank you Severn House for the pleasure of reading this book.  I have read all the books in the series and cannot praise enough the storylines and humour in each publication.

 The plot is about a handsome male fitness trainer who is murdered in his apartment.  There are
several suspects but one stands out more than the others. It is a quite a story how DCI Bill Slider and his team determine the murderer.  

Highly recommend.
Was this review helpful?
256 pages

5 stars

Erik, with a “k,” Lingoss was brutally beaten about the head in his apartment. DCI Bill Slider and DS Atherton respond to the call. A witness or suspect to the murder was also at the scene. A young woman who worked at the same gym as Lingoss. She was dumped the previous evening by Lingoss, is devastated and makes a good suspect. But all who know her don't believe that she is capable of such an act. She is very young and very naive. 

Slider, Atherton and the rest of the team begin their investigation with the usual interviews: friends, acquaintances, work place and neighbors. The size of the investigation grows, but few useful leads are found. After several false starts, the police finally gain some traction. A theory is tested and proves to be sound. 

I suspected the person who was found to be the murderer about three-fourths of the way through the book, but I was gratified to see that I was right. 

Ms. Harrod-Eagles lays out the story in a linear and logical way. Her transitions are seamless. There was one little slip in the plotting, but now I can't recall what it was, so no big deal. When interviewed the characters' reactions are interesting and true-to-life. The bluster and indignation of a few and the calm acceptance of others was how people really do react in these situations. Who knows how I would act when confronted by the police? Eeek! I like Slider's compassion for the people he speaks to and I love Atherton's erudition! He comes out with some real winners. And when the other cops misunderstand him – mostly on purpose I think – it is funny. I truly like Ms. Harrod-Eagles' writing and look very much forward to reading the next Slider/Atherton novel. 

I want to thank NetGalley and Seven House for forwarding to me a copy of this very good book for me to read, enjoy and review.
Was this review helpful?
At first I thought there were a lot of typos in this book; narcissus in place of narcissist for example but realise it was part of the humour in what is a well written, funny book. Very much a procedural with a lot of words to solve a single murder.
Was this review helpful?
I received a copy of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley.

It was great to return to the Slider/Atherton crime solving duo. The rest of the team, with their distinct characters were all still there too. I enjoy the humour, and I thought the first half of the book was extremely good: fast paced and tightly plotted. After that I felt it got a little bogged down and there were an awful lot of characters to keep straight. I didn't ever get much of a sense of what the victim was really like, but nevertheless, this was a good read with a satisfying resolution.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you NetGalley and Severn House for the eARC.
As usual, I hated having to leave the world of Slider, Atherton, his team and of course Joanna.  I love this series so much and I'm always amazed at how consistently great the books are, even after so many of them.
This one features the murder of a popular personal trainer, who bedazzled women with his extreme good looks and was not shy about sharing them among many.
The back and forth between Slider and Atherton always puts a smile on my face and the end of the case was excellent.  But it was the last chapter that really made me tear up and smile at the same time.  Wonderful book, highly recommended 5+++ read!
Was this review helpful?