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The Big Thrill Recommends: STORM ON THE LEVELS by David Hodges

Recommendation By Daniel Charles Ross

Book Cover: STORM ON THE LEVELSThis is the latest outing of David Hodges’ Detective Kate Hamblin. It looks like she—accompanied now by her husband, Detective Constable Hayden—are stranded in the snow-bound mysterious Warneford Hall Hotel outside of London, England, and will soon try to find a possible serial killer. All cars on the property have been disabled, all the phones are non-operational or missing entirely, and someone obviously has bad intent. All this occurs under the rubric of an expense-paid five-year reunion of sorts for a handful of people who were friends in college—but no one knows who sent the invite.

There are a surprising number of characters in this mystery. A repeating characteristic is the hostility expressed between detectives Hamblin and Hayden. Many novels stoke the characterization by creating conflict between primary characters, and that’s done here to a high degree. It’s made more real because the bickering is a convincing extension of their marriage. Nevertheless, it doesn’t get in the way of crime-solving, and that’s the main objective.

Be ready to look up English-to-English translations. The novel offers plenty of opportunity to broaden one’s U.K. vocabulary. A “sarnie” is a sandwich, and nonsense is “rubbish.” Harking back to the Sixties (at least in my experience), women are “birds.” A “doss” is slang for sleep or a nap. “Bollocks” you can look up for yourself.

David Hodges served thirty years in the Thames Valley Police, rising from constable to superintendent, so his police procedure, at least in the U.K., seems spot on and appealing to fans of Agatha Christie. This book is perfect to read by the fire on a snowy weekend.



Daniel Charles Ross