Death of the Elver Man


Probation office Alex Hastings is struggling with the customs, dialect and prejudice she faces as an ‘incomer’ to the Somerset Levels. When one of her probationers, Kevin Mallory, is charged with murdering the ‘Elver Man’, who operated in the poaching underworld, she is embroiled in the investigation.

Determined to prove Mallory is innocent, Alex puts her own career at risk as she searches for the truth behind the Elver Man’s death, but her efforts attract the attention of the real killer. Alex finds herself drawn into a web of family feuds, gang loyalties and revenge killings as an unknown predator stalks her across the eerie landscape of the levels.


Believable characters in an atmospheric setting. Excellent writing. – 1 Sep 2011 – by Chewey

Those who have visited the Somerset Levels will know what an eerie and atmospheric place it can be. Jennie Finch manages to capture the various moods of the land/waterscape beautifully, so much so that I was reminded of Hardy’s famous prologue in ‘Return of the Native’. Like Hardy, this author conjures up believable characters rooted in this seemingly timeless landscape, tied to the historic ways and means of eking out dubious livings from the natural resources available to them. Family feuds, gang warfare, and the settling of old scores amongst the locals are encountered by a dipsy Probation Officer trying to get to grips with living and working in rural Somerset. Even the (real) names of villages lend an air of mystery and intrigue (Westonzoyland). Once you pick this book up, it’s hard to put down, the suspense building inexorably to a thrilling climax. This is a very impressive debut from a talented new writer, and I highly recommend it.

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