Paper Girls

DCI Kett is the most father-like detective I have ever come across, by which I mean Alex Smith’s description of what it’s like to be the [currently] lone parent to three young girls is spot on. And once they’ve arrived in Norwich, his detective also kicks in doors left, right and centre. Because he has to.

As an expert on missing people, Kett is on compassionate leave and has come home to Norwich after his own wife goes missing and he fails to find out what’s happened to her. It’s hard. His eldest is six and autistic, the middle girl always wants to poo, and the youngest comes along on his detecting, in her pushchair, because Kett has yet to sort out childcare. Not that he should be working, of course.

But three eleven-year-old girls have gone missing while doing their paper rounds, and the local police want his help. And even if he wanted to, Kett can’t ignore this case. He might have forgotten to bring bedlinen, but he is still a good father.

And a good detective.

I’m not generally too keen on crime novels featuring suffering children, but this is kept at an OK level. And Alex’s writing is great. It’s extremely readable.

I did guess quite early on who to suspect. Perhaps I was meant to. But you still have to wait to see how it will all work out. If it works out. You want to believe it will, because of the many children involved, but you can’t be sure.

As for the missing mother; we are clearly meant to see how Kett manages – or not – without her, so I don’t imagine there will be a speedy, happy outcome.

There will be more poos, and more doors to kick in. And naming a couple of potential suspects after his real life author colleagues is genius. Made me very happy.

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