Ayo Onatade is an avid reader of crime and mystery fiction. She has been writing reviews, interviews and articles on the subject for the last 12 years; with an eclectic taste from historical to hardboiled, short stories and noir films
Detective Constable Fiona Griffiths is a rookie who finds herself on her first big investigation: the brutal murder of a mother and daughter. It is clear that this is going to be no ordinary investigation and that she will find herself digging deep into Cardiff’s dark side.
This is not something that she relishes. They have very little clues to go on and Griffiths appears to be the only one concerned, as her fellow officers cannot really be bothered as the dead woman was a prostitute. Griffiths on the other hand believes that that there is more to the murder than initial meets the eye and she is determined despite her own foibles and psychological issues to get to the bottom of the violent murder even if it means solving the questions of her own past
Talking to the Dead is told in first person narrative and as such, you get a good insight into the rather unusual thought process of the main character DC Fiona Griffiths. She is not an easy character, in fact, there were times that I found her not only thoroughly frustrating but I did not like her at all. To make things worse, her own dark past does not make it any easier. However, would you have liked her to be an easy and likeable character? I certainly would not. Her psyche may have been thoroughly screwed up, but this made her a more rounded character and as such a very good thing. Characters that are too proper are in my opinion hard to take and like. This is not however, the case with Fiona Griffiths, she does grow on you.
There are many good things about Talking to the Dead. The storyline moves along at just the right pace, and the writing is brilliant. Furthermore, the novel has an excellent sense of place and the author’s love of Wales certainly comes shining through. To top it all, the author has invented a protagonist so peculiar and quirky that you really want to be a fly on the wall to see what she gets up to next. Talking to the Dead is not the first novel by Harry Bingham but it is in my opinion this will shape up to be a brilliant police procedural series with a superb Welsh setting! More please!