Cover image for Blind to the bones : a crime novel
Blind to the bones : a crime novel
Booth, Stephen, 1952-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Scribner, [2003]

Physical Description:
425 pages ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
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Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense

On Order



Something sinister is happening on the desolate moors of England's Peak District. The villagers of Withens are dying. Nineteen-year-old Emma Renshaw disappeared two years ago. Her body has never been found, and her parents still cling to the hope that she may be alive.Now, Neil Granger, one of Emma's former housemates, has been killed in a particularly grotesque way. What was Neil doing out on the moor by the deserted, rat-filled railway tunnel where his bludgeoned remains were discovered? Is there a link between Neil's death and Emma's disappearance? Why didn't Neil offer Emma a ride to the station on the day she vanished? Or did he? Had he been hiding the truth? And what is the significance of Emma's bloodied cellular phone?While Detective Sergeant Diane Fry focuses on Emma's possible murder -- now a cold case -- her colleague Ben Cooper takes a temporary assignment to probe rural crime. His first task is to investigate a series of burglaries in and around Withens. Thieves have hit nearly every house that has valuables, and even the church has been plundered. Only one family seems to be exempt from the break-ins: the Oxleys. Descended from the workmen who built the tunnels that run two hundred feet below the village, they stick to their own like the sheep on the hillsides, passing on secret knowledge through the generations.Into the tempest that is Withens come Cooper and Fry, two people who share an emotion-filled professional and personal history, and who must again deal with each other as their separate cases gradually converge. But winning the trust of the locals and establishing a link between the deaths is not their only challenge. What other secrets does the village hold? And even if Cooper and Fry can find the answers, can the guilty ever be brought to justice?Acknowledged to be one of the most gifted of the new generation of crime writers, Stephen Booth gives us a richly nuanced, brilliantly evoked novel sure to win him many new accolades.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Mix Stephen King paranoia with Charlotte Bronte wildness of atmosphere and character, and you get a whiff of what Booth concocts in his latest Derbyshire Constabulary procedural, where murder walks the English moors. Booth uses the moors and the nearly deserted, rat-infested village of Withens as the grim backdrop for a series of connected crimes, the most poignant involving the disappearance of a college girl two years previously and her parents' increasingly delusional hope that she is still alive. Quite a bit of the mystery represents an exploration of the psychology of grief, both on the part of the parents and of Detective Sergeant Diane Fry, whose investigation unearths her own shallow grave of trauma. In the fourth outing for nice guy Ben Cooper and his irascible and complex supervisor, Fry, the pair get a reprieve from their prickly relationship, because they work the case from separate task forces. Absorbing atmospheric mystery. --Connie Fletcher Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Set in a damp English village on the midland moors, Booth's fourth suspense novel is a moody, meandering tale, bringing back the two police protagonists of Blood on the Tongue and Dancing with the Virgins. Det. Constable Ben Cooper has just been transferred to a rural beat when he finds himself up to his handcuffs in the gruesome murder of a young man, Neil Granger. Meanwhile, his former superior, Det. Sgt. Diane Fry, is investigating the two-year-old disappearance of 19-year-old Emma Renshaw. The cases are almost certainly related-Emma and Neil both grew up in the Peak District village of Withens and were housemates in the Black Country, an urban area just west of Birmingham-but clues linking them are scarce. As Fry and Cooper pursue their separate investigations, Emma's distraught and unbalanced parents prove a hindrance, and a family of petty criminals further hamper progress. An accidental shooting, the discovery of a second corpse, a possible link to a burglary ring and a suspicious land development deal add more complications. Bogged down in this plethora of subplots, Fry and Cooper are also plagued by personal troubles. Fry's own sister has been missing for 15 years, and Cooper has information about her that he doesn't know whether to share. Though the two detectives wrestle with their feelings for each other, their conflicted relationship produces few sparks. Short on suspense and long on melodrama, this is a tepid effort from a much-praised writer of sophisticated crime fiction. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

This is more than just a crime novel-Booth's fourth entry (after Blood on the Tongue) featuring Derbyshire Detective Constable Ben Cooper and Detective Sergeant Diane Fry is notable for its sense of place, psychological complexity, tension, and exploration of human fears (read: loneliness, change, loss, and truth). Two cases, one old, one new, appear related when the mobile phone of Emma Renshaw, who disappeared two years earlier, is found just before Neil Granger, one of her former housemates, is killed. While Cooper investigates the moorland village of Withens-home of the notorious Oxley family whose boys have been suspected of vandalism and worse and where the Border Rats practice their frightening performances-Fry deals with Renshaw's parents, who are losing their grip on reality as they anticipate their daughter's return at any moment. Meanwhile, the relationship between the two protagonists, compelling from the start of the series, gains complexity when Cooper becomes a reluctant but steadfast catalyst in Fry's 15-year search for her missing older sister, increasing anticipation about the pair's future. Fiction of the highest caliber; highly recommended.-Michele Leber, Arlington, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.