cover image Dry Bones

Dry Bones

Sally Spencer. Severn, $28.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8754-2

In British author Spencer’s entertaining follow-up to 2017’s The Shivering Turn, Jennie Redhead, a PI with a competent upper second-class degree in English literature from Oxford University and a proficiency in karate, takes on as a client her long-time friend Charlie Swift, the greatly respected bursar of Oxford’s St. Luke’s College. The bodies of two men have been found walled up in an ancient, unused air vent in the basement of St. Luke’s. Charlie, for reasons of his own, has had the bodies removed to the university’s medical department, where the examiners determine that both men were in their mid-20s or 30s, and that they were interred at different times. Charlie asks Jennie to discover their identities before he reports the incident to the police. The novel braids together three strands: Jennie’s investigations in 1974 and chapters set in 1916 and 1943 that follow the lives and deaths of the two victims. Spencer writes with verve and humor while delivering a satisfying mystery plot and some insight into the workings of a great university. (Feb.)