A British police procedural mystery set in the idyllic location of West Cumbria in England’s beautiful Lake District. The title of the novel evokes a sense of foreboding that the story more than adequately renders.
When I saw the title offered on NetGalley, I just couldn’t resist. No matter that it is the seventh book in Martin Edward’s Lake District mystery series and even though I hadn’t read the first six books.
The first part of the novel takes place twenty years ago and introduces us to Malcolm Whiteley, the owner of “The Dungeon House“. A man with few redeeming traits, he is a paranoid, jealous, insecure and at times irrational businessman. After he sells his company the buyers want to forfeit the deal. Desperate and despondent, he turns to drinking even more heavily than before. He is insanely jealous and suspects that his beautiful trophy wife is being unfaithful. These factors spur a tragic event with lifelong repercussions for many.
The second part of the novel takes place in the present day. We meet Joanna Footit, who after twenty years away from the village returns to face her demons and look up a former love. Before she left she had been a victim of a tragic car accident.
We also are reacquainted with Edward’s recurring characters, DCI Hannah Scarlett and Daniel Kind of the Cumbria Constabulary. Tasked with finding the teenage daughter of a rich businessman, they wonder if their case is linked to another similar missing persons case which took place three years previously. The reason… both girls have ties to people surrounding “The Dungeon House“.
A sound and well written police procedural, “The Dungeon House” will be enjoyed by fans of the genre. I found the novel very enjoyable but was slightly confused by the myriad characters introduced in the beginning of the novel. Once the police officers came on board, the narrative seemed to flow and I followed the ‘case’ with eager anticipation. I acknowledge that I did myself a disservice by not reading the previous six novels in the series as I very much liked the character of DCI Hannah Scarlett.
My excuse: So many books…. so little time.