Talking to the Dead – Harry Bingham


A part time prostitute is found dead in a rundown flat that’s not her own. Beside her body is that of her six year old daughter, murdered in a manner most foul. Into this cesspit comes DC Fiona (“Fi”) Griffths, one of South Wales’ youngest and most inexperienced detectives. But Fi has a way of dedicating herself to the job, and she would like nothing more than to bring the perpetrator to justice. So Fi follows the clues, and her own intuition, to fulfill her self imposed mission while trying to satisfy the more formal and routine requirements of modern day policing. As if that were not enough, Fi has a chunk of her past that she is keeping a closely guarded secret, much in the same way that she isn’t sharing with others the peace she finds in the company of the dead. Fi Griffiths is strange, alluring, and a defective detective worth knowing.

It’s a while since I have been so comprehensively drawn into a character and a book, as I was to Fi Griffiths and Talking to the Dead. I started it one night, intending to try out a chapter, and ended up reluctantly putting it aside after finishing almost half of it.

I loved the character, the writing, and the whole experience. Griffiths is weird, logical, wayward, combative, thoroughly human, and believable. The first person narrative gives the reader a somewhat biased (but welcome) perspective, with each page of Griffiths’ reflections building up the depth and allure of the character. Sure, Griffiths is the only character of note, but she is more than enough. That, and the fact the Welsh setting is rendered with just the right amount of attention to detail to support the character and the story pacing, is a combination that is a sign of a quality package. It’s a cracking piece of crime fiction. I’ve already downloaded the next in the series. Not to be missed.