I love Kate Ellis! She's one of my all-time favourite authors, mainly because her plots are so fiendishly clever I can never work out 'whodunit'. Or if I do, my guess will be only a small part of the story. I don't know how she does it!
Kate Ellis is mainly known for her 'Wesley Peterson' archaeological mystery series - set in the present day but with a historical mystery threading through the stories. The Boy Who Lived with the Dead is the second in her 'Albert Lincoln' series and is set during the years following the First World War. This is not a time period I'm familiar with, and I found it fascinating to read how such a a horrific war continued to affect people, not only the soldiers.
If you've not read the first book in this series, A High Mortality of Doves, you do need to do so. The plot of that book is mentioned throughout this one, with huge spoilers. Having said that, you can read this one as a stand alone - just be aware of those spoilers!
The Boy Who Lived with the Dead starts in 1920. The title refers to a young boy called Peter, who lives in the lodge bordering the cemetery because his father is the gravedigger. A few years earlier, Peter's twin brother was murdered and left for dead in the local stone circle. Inspector Albert Lincoln was unable to solve this murder and it has haunted him ever since. Now he's back to investigate the murder of a woman and the disappearance of her baby. Are the two cases connected? Did Peter witness the murder from his bedroom window? Or is he lying about that, the way the entire village believes he lies about everything else?
The Boy Who Lived with the Dead is basically the perfect murder mystery! It's brilliantly plotted and I love the characters! Albert is traumatised from the events of the first book, not to mention the war and his unhappy marriage. Peter is suffering from the loss of his twin. He has no friends and most adults dismiss him as being a fantasist. I loved Peter's teacher, Gwen Davies, who tries to solve the murders herself, and I also enjoyed the way practically the entire village had a secret to hide!
If you love traditional/classic murder mysteries, you will adore this book. It's one of my favourite reads this year - I can't wait for the next one!
Thank you to Kate Ellis and Piatkus for my copy of this book, which I requested from NetGalley and reviewed voluntarily.