Death Wore White, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (7 ratings)


At 5.15 p.m. Harvey Ellis was trapped - stranded in a line of eight cars by a blizzard on a Norfolk coast road.At 8.15 p.m.

Harvey Ellis was dead - viciously stabbed at the wheel of his truck.And his killer has achieved the impossible: striking without being seen, and without leaving a single footprint in the snow . . . For DI Peter Shaw and DS George Valentine it's only the start of an infuriating investigation.

The crime scene is melting, the murderer has vanished, the witnesses are dropping like flies. And the body count is on the rise . . .


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Crime & mystery
  • ISBN: 9780141027517

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Showing 1 - 5 of 7 reviews.

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Review by

There's nothing better than a well-executed version of one of the good old staples of crime fiction - a twist on the locked room scenario.DEATH WORE WHITE is the first in a new series from CWA Dagger Winner Jim Kelly, an author well known for his ongoing Philip Dryden books. DI Peter Shaw and DS George Valentine are a good pairing - Valentine the older cop, ex-partner of Shaw's father, his career has seen higher points. Shaw, on the other hand, is a rising star, keen to prove himself and to clear his father's, and consequently Valentine's, reputations over the last case they both investigated. Despite what sounds like a pretty predictable scenario (and let's face it - most of everything's been done before), Shaw and Valentine rub along together as you'd expect the old buck and the young upstart to do for a while, eventually coming to a grudging if not quite respect, then at least understanding.At the heart of DEATH WORE WHITE there's a very complicated plot which unravels for some aspects predictably, and in others unexpectedly. One of the best parts of this particular locked room scenario is that whilst it's obvious that's what the reader is being confronted with, and therefore there must be more to the initial discovery of the scene, the full story is revealed in a way that the reader can draw some conclusions, maybe completely solve the puzzle. The story is, however, incredibly complicated and some readers might find that it stretches credibility somewhat, having said that, personally I had no problem with the interconnectedness of the entire thing. The book is really a great story, told well, with a couple of interesting central characters, set in a vividly drawn and ever so slightly quirky setting. Kelly knows how to write good, solid entertaining crime fiction - a bit of a puzzle solver, as gruesome as the killing may be, these books aren't particularly confrontational and characters and the settings are a big part of what he does. DEATH WORE WHITE should appeal to fans of the Dryden series, as well as to readers who are new to Jim Kelly's books.

Review by

A line of eight cars is trapped in a blizzard on a Norfolk coast road in the intriguingly named Siberia Belt between Cromer and King's Lynn. They've been diverted into this by-road by an AA road works sign that mysteriously disappears. The passage of the truck at the head of the line is blocked by a fallen tree, showing all the signs of having been deliberately chopped down. And three hours after the blizzard began Harvey Ellis, the driver of the truck, is dead. And no-one saw anything. But Harvey Ellis has been murdered.Two bodies are separately found at low tide in the coastal cockle pits. As these bodies are identified DI Peter Shaw and DS George Valentine discover they have connections with people in the line of stranded cars.Jim Kelly is an established author with 5 novels already under the belt (the Philip Dryden series), and in 2006 he won the 2006 CWA Dagger in the Library for the series. DEATH WORE WHITE is the beginning of a new series, with a second title promised for 2010.Not only has Kelly created an interesting puzzle in DEATH WORE WHITE - who kills Harvey Ellis if no-one saw anything - but he has created a fascinating new detective duo in Shaw and Valentine. These two already have a history. Valentine worked with Shaw's father Jack, on a case which spelled the end of Jack Shaw's career, and saw Valentine demoted. Peter Shaw comes into the series already fully fledged as it were - the new style of detective, careful, determined not to make his father's mistakes, but an artist who can draw his own identikit pictures, and a boatie with a hovercraft licence.You've probably detected that I found this a very enjoyable read, and I'll certainly now try to get hold of the Philip Dryden titles, as well as look out for the next in the Shaw and Valentine series: DEATH WATCH.

Review by

First Line: The Alpha Romeo ran a lipstick-red smear across a sepia landscape.At 5:15 PM, Harvey Ellis was stranded in a line of eight cars by a blizzard on a Norfolk coast road. Three hours later, Harvey Ellis was dead, stabbed at the wheel of his truck. His killer has achieved the impossible: killing without being seen and leaving not one footprint in the snow.This is merely the beginning of an exasperating investigation. The crime scene is melting, the murderer has vanished, and the witnesses have scattered. It's going to take everything D.I. Peter Shaw and D.S. George Valentine have to piece all the facts together and solve the case.Shaw and Valentine are a very good pairing of opposites. Shaw is the young whiz kid on the fast track to chief constable and beyond. Known as "Check It" at the station, he's known for believing in the forensics and for checking each and every bit of evidence time and again.His new partner, D.S. George Valentine, is at the end of a long career. He's a dinosaur, believing that people-- not forensics-- are at the heart of each investigation. Shaw and Valentine are both under a cloud: Shaw's father (and Valentine's former partner) left the force after it was proven that the pair did not follow procedure and seriously botched the outcome of an important case. The present-day partnership of Shaw and Valentine have to come to grips with the old case as well as solving the new.Although characters and the weather play important roles in this book, by far the star of the show is the tightly wound and smartly executed plot. Clues are subtly planted and can be easily missed, and even though I eventually figured it all out, I refuse to claim any sort of victory because my enlightenment occurred so close to the end.If you're in the mood to read about a couple of indefatigable coppers who are faced with an Agatha Christie-like locked room mystery in the snow, locate a copy of Death Wore White. (Just make sure the heating isn't on the blink, and you have a spare blanket just in case!)

Review by

Some books have a premise with draws me in like the proverbial moth to a flame. <i>Death Wore White</i> offered a modern version of a locked room mystery in which a handful of people are trapped in their cars during blizzard and one of drivers has a chisel plunged into his eye seemingly in full view of everyone else but no one saw anything. We won’t ponder what it says about me that I rubbed my hands with glee when I read a blurb like that.<br/><br/>The book turned out to be a more standard police procedural than the blurb suggested (how shocking, a misleading book blurb). It’s a solid example of its sub genre but as the vast majority of the action takes place long after the blizzard-trapped people have gone home it wasn’t really the book I was expecting.<br/><br/>The two policemen at the heart of the are quite fascinating. Peter Shaw is something of a hotshot: a forensic artist, rescue boat crewman and loving husband and father as well as being a Detective Inspector. Shaw’s father was a policeman too until he was accused of planting evidence when investigating the case of a murdered boy ten years previously. Shaw has now been partnered with George Valentine who had been his father’s partner during that disastrous case. Valentine has been demoted and must now take orders from his old partner’s son. The two men work through initial distrust and hostility towards something of a grudging, though sporadic, respect as the book progresses and the relationship between these two is the kind of thing that will bring me back to more books in this series.<br/><br/>I didn’t find the story itself quite as compelling. The plot is terribly complicated and I never became fully engaged with it so had to re-read several portions in order for the chain of events to make sense, especially for the first half of the book. It seemed to me that there were a lot of events crammed into the story and all, apart from the minor thread relating to the old case that ruined the career of Shaw’s father and George Valentine, were treated fairly superficially. With a few less dead bodies and overlapping crimes to investigate there might have been time for a closer look at the victims or the motivations of the criminals (of whom there were many).<br/><br/>However, I did enjoy the writing style of <i>Death Wore White</i> and the main characters were interesting enough for me to want to read more about them so I will seek out, Death Watch, the second book in this series which is due for release this year.

Review by

What a good conundrum that kept me wondering until the last page. Bleak cold landscapes, interesting characters and a good story. Even the personal deacons of the main characters where not over done.

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