Title: The Evidence (Detective Helen Carter #2)
Author: Jodie Lawrance
Published on: 5 August 2021
Genre: Mystery and Thrillers | Police Procedural
The Evidence is the second book in Jodie Lawrance‘s Detective Helen Carter series.
Detective Helen Carter is called to a crime scene: Tina French, a barmaid and mother, has been strangled to death in a dilapidated building. Meanwhile, Moira has returned from her lover’s home to find her husband washing blood off his hands. Moira’s husband is abusive and she knows better than to ask ‘whose blood is it?’ Later, she finds old newspaper clippings of old murder cases along with some ‘mementos’. The next day, Moira is reported missing by her husband – he came home from the pub and found blood in the house.
Detective Helen Carter series is set in the 1970s, Scotland. This was the time when women were slowing making their presence felt in the workforce. Helen is sneered and harassed by her fellow colleagues. She finds objectionable items (feathery handcuffs and stuff) on her desk – while some of her colleagues are downright rude to her, some play double games.
In the first book – The Uniform – we saw Helen come face-to-face with the ‘picture house murderer’ and was badly injured. Her relationship with Ted (fiancé) came to an end as she could not put up with his drinking problems as well as his controlling nature – he wanted her to quit her job and move in with him. DC Terry McKinley and Helen are now on friendly terms – Terry is being a little sweet on her but Helen doesn’t seem to be ready to jump into a relationship, at least not right away.
DI Craven is Helen’s boss. He’s known for his temper and initially, he was not very supportive of a woman working in the police force – he also believed Helen’s promotion was an act of nepotism (her dad was a chief). But as The Uniform (the first book) ends, we see Craven mellow down a bit. In The Evidence, there is a scene where a suspect talks rudely to Helen and Craven makes sure the suspect understand what it means to respect a police officer – irrespective of the gender. Woah, that’s quite a change in our grumpy ol’ Craven.
The mystery behind Tina’s murder and Moira’s disappearance kept me on the edge of my seat. The suspects list is not long but plenty of red herrings throughout make it difficult for amateur sleuths like us to find the real reason behind the murder(s).
Terry and Helen are not new to toxic partners in a relationship. Both their exes make an appearance and try to ruin things. In the previous book, Helen learned her father was a bent copper and this book, she learns another secret about it.
The second half of the story gets murkier – we have the perp setting his eyes on Helen. He hates her attitude and wants to harm her. Meanwhile, Craven’s ex-wife’s (current) husband works in the same clinic where Moira used to visit – is there a connection here? Only time will tell…
The Evidence by Jodie Lawrance is a gripping and riveting page turner. If you love gritty police procedurals set in 1970s, you might want to give this book a read.