D.S. Glyn Capaldi, the protagonist of Ewart Hutton’s debut Good People, is a Welsh cop who got into a bit of trouble in Cardiff and had been reassigned to a dinky town in the middle of nowhere, a place where the higher-ups figure he can’t get into any more touble.
The reader doesn’t get to learn very much about Capaldi. He’s divorced. He’s smart. He’s got good instincts, but isn’t really a team player and he’s very much an outsider in Carmarthen. Detective Chief Superintendent Galbraith describes him as ” someone who used to be a good cop,” which is why Galbraith has rescued him so he isn’t “wearing a rinky-dink security uniform and patrolling the booze aisle in some shanty-town supermarket.” Capaldi is getting another chance, but he’s on a short leash.
Which is why no one wants to give him the time of day when Capaldi is suspicious about Carmarthen’s latest crime. Six men coming home from a soccer game in England, disappear into the woods with a young girl. Their abandoned mini-bus is found on the side of the road, but hours later when the party is found, not everyone is accounted for.
Police who are familiar with the men believe their story – convoluted as it is – but Capaldi isn’t as convinced.
Good People is a relatively straightforward mystery that is fast-paced and intriguing. Capaldi certainly grows on you and the story is not your standard whodunit. Instead, Good People is about the underbelly of a town that, on the surface at least, seems quaint and shiny and our capacity for deception.