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Detective Inspector Tom Tyler Mystery Series by Maureen Jennings

Detective Inspector Tom Tyler Mystery Series by Maureen Jennings

Many of you will recognize Maureen Jennings as the author of the very popular novels and television series The Murdoch Mysteries. This series is set in the 1850s in the city of Toronto and portrays both the city and the way of life in the society of the time. I liked the books, but loathed the television series.

Far better than both, I think, is Maureen Jennings newer series featuring Detective Inspector Tom Tyler, set in England in the early years of the Second World War.

I read the first two, Season of Darkness and Beware the Boys some years ago when they were first published, and just this summer have read the third, No Known Grave, and the fourth Dead Ground In Between – both excellent.

It mattered not that I’d forgotten much of the earlier novels since we are caught up with the most important aspects of Tom Tyler’s personal life as we read about the professional life of a British policeman in wartime.

No Known Grave takes place, mostly, in a convalescent hospital for wounded soldiers transitioning to life with substantial physical disabilities from their wounds. There are, as well, a few women who are in military service at home who have also been seriously injured. It is not easy to read about their wounds, and it is not easy for them to find their way into a completely different life than they had previously expected.

When there is one death, and then another, that are considered to be murder rather than accident or suicide the story gather momentum. In tandem with the current case we discover that Tom Tyler is desperately lonely, recently divorced after years of an unhappy marriage, while the woman he loves is in Europe working on a secret mission.

Dead Ground In Between moves us on slightly in time, still 1942 and it is coming up to Christmas. There is an Italian Prisoner of War camp close to the town of Ludlow, Shropshire where Tom Tyler is Detective Inspector. It is his responsibility to keep the peace in the district, and to watch over the Italians who are often requisitioned to work on the local farms.  When an elderly man goes missing and is found dead – not from natural causes – it is easy for suspicion to fall upon one of the Italians.

There are also children in the area who have been evacuated from London, including two Dutch boys who are most likely orphans. These boys have become the foster children of Nuala Keogh. With her husband missing in Europe Nuala is as lonely as Tom – and there is a strong attraction. When these boys go missing Tom is desperate to find them, but fearing he will be too late, as the key to their whereabouts may be a military secret not revealed in time.

Each of these novels relate on the accurate facts of the time, with interesting bits of the history of the place in which they are set woven into the story. Revelations and events at the conclusion of the fourth in series have me eagerly waiting for the fifth!


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