Darkness Beyond

Marjorie Eccles. Severn, $28.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-7278-5060-7

Set in 1933, Eccles’s appealing fifth mystery featuring Det. Insp. Herbert Reardon (after 2017’s Property of Lies) opens with the return home one night of widower Paul Millar to the Midlands market town of Folbury more than 14 years after Paul’s siblings, Teddy and Thea, and his grown son, Matt, believed he died in the Great War. Where has he been? Why has he come back? These are just a few of the questions Reardon and his sergeant, Joe Gilmour, delve into two weeks later after Paul’s discovered floating in a river, dead from a gunshot wound in the back of the head. Reardon and his inquisitive wife, Ellen, happen to live in the Millars’ former housekeeper’s cottage, where Ellen finds the housekeeper’s diary, which contains some important clues. Eccles skillfully juggles several possible suspects, keeping the suspense high by revealing festering past resentments and memories colored by the passage of time, as well as contemporary issues that could have led to Paul’s demise. An old-fashioned writing style fits the straightforward solution to the crime. Fans of traditional English mysteries will have fun. Agent: Juliet Burton, Juliet Burton Literary (U.K.). (July)