Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Extract, Family Drama, Noir

Hush Little Baby Jane Isaac 4*#Review @JaneIsaacAuthor @Aria_Fiction @HoZ_Books #CrimeFiction #noircrime #BlogTour #Extract #BookReview #DCBethChamberlain

Someone stole a baby… 

One sunny day in July, someone took three-month-old Alicia Owen from her pram outside a supermarket. Her mother, Marie, was inside. No one saw who took Alicia. And no one could find her.

They silenced her cry… 

Fifteen years later, a teenager on a construction site sees a tiny hand in the ground. When the police investigate, they find a baby buried and preserved in concrete. Could it be Alicia?

But the truth will always out.

 

When Alicia disappeared, the papers accused Marie of detachment and neglect. The Owens never got over the grief of their child’s disappearance and divorced not long after. By reopening the case, DC Beth Chamberlain must reopen old wounds. But the killer may be closer than anyone ever suspected…

The latest crime thriller featuring Family Liaison Officer DC Beth Chamberlain, Hush Little Baby is tightly plotted, fraught with tension and impossible to put down.

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I received a copy of this book from Aria via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This story is emotional and poignant because it involves the death of a baby. The author captures the familial guilt and heartbreak in this story as Beth Chamberlain investigates the cold case. The third in the series, there are mentions of previous crimes and so reading the first two books is advised.

Beth Chamberlain is a believable character. Caring and dedicated, she gives the story authenticity. The dynamic in the police team is well-written and the depth, and pacing of the investigation realistically portrayed.

The compelling plot and engaging, though not always likeable characters immerse the reader into this dark world.

Extract from Hush Little Baby Jane Isaac

The detective chief inspector tapped the screen. ‘In the description given at the time, Alicia’s mother said the child was wearing a towelling vest and a nappy. The contents of her changing bag, also taken with her, included a cream shawl, similar to the one this child was wrapped in. The burial site, if we can call it that, is less than two miles from the Owens’ home at the time, and not far from where Alicia went missing.’

‘Could it have been as long as fifteen years?’ Nick asked.

‘They can’t be completely sure before they run tests, but potentially, yes.’

‘So, we think it is her?’

‘From what we’ve uncovered so far, it seems likely. Pete’s been out to see the farmer who owns the land.’

DC Pete Winston approached the front of the room. He was a tall man, with short dark hair and soft brown eyes. The buttons on his shirt gaped slightly over an overhanging paunch. ‘The land was owned by the Moreton family before it was sold for development,’ he said. ‘Old man Moreton must be in his seventies now. He ran the farm with his only son, it had been in their family over a hundred years. He claims he had no idea how the body came to be on his land.’ Pete lifted a hand and circled an area on the map, indicating the location of the farm and the land attached to it. A purple-headed pin close to the edge marked the area where the remains were found.

‘Moreton was quite clear that this particular field—’ Pete tapped the crime scene twice ‘—has been used solely for crops for the last thirty years. It’s several acres away from the farmhouse and not overlooked. There are no bridle ways or walkways that run through, or close by, and it was edged with high hawthorn hedging along the roadside, until recently when the developers cut it back.’

‘How did they access the field?’ Nick asked.

‘Through a locked gate at the bottom of the road.’

‘So, he’s saying nobody else had access apart from farm workers?’

‘Not legitimately. He did admit there were a few breaks in the hedging back in the day, caused by badgers and other animals, where someone may have climbed through.’

Nick’s face crumpled. ‘Surely the farmer or a labourer working the land would have noticed something freshly buried, or that the soil was disturbed.’

‘Yeah, I mentioned that. Moreton wasn’t convinced.’ Pete glanced down and sifted through his notebook until he found what he was looking for. ‘This was one field in a farm of over 700 acres. They combine crop and cattle. The work is constant. They harvest, cultivate and sow the crops. Often fields aren’t touched for months in between. If the block was buried at the right time, the soil could have had plenty of weeks or months to settle afterwards.’

Beth narrowed her eyes. Once again, it indicated a level of knowledge and planning. To know when the seeds would be sown. Although it would have been cumbersome to transport a concrete lump that size into the field. The killer would have had to dig quite a hole to conceal it. ‘How far does their machinery penetrate the soil?’ she asked.

Pete shot Beth a knowing smile. ‘Down to a maximum of thirty centimetres.’

Which meant if the block was buried deeper than thirty centimetres it could have sat there for years, undisturbed. Beth gave an appreciative nod. ‘What about the builder working the digger this morning?’ she asked. ‘How come they didn’t notice they’d hit the concrete block? Especially if they were working through soil.’

‘They’d been breaking up the foundations of a dilapidated barn nearby. Some of the remains were mixed in with the soil in that part of the field. They probably didn’t give it a second thought.’ Pete snapped his notebook shut. ‘The farmer’s putting together a list of labourers he’s used. They’d know the area, be aware it was remote.’

Freeman thanked Pete and sunk his hands deep in his pockets. ‘As I said, if this is Alicia, the quickest way to confirm identity would be through a DNA check against her parents. Depending on how busy the labs are, we’d hopefully know within two to three days.’

‘I’ve already taken a sample from the mother,’ Beth said. ‘It was couriered to the lab this afternoon.’

Jane Isaac

Jane Isaac is married to a serving detective and they live in rural Northamptonshire UK with their daughter, and dog, Bollo. Jane loves to hear from readers and writers.

Sign up to her book club at http://eepurl.com/1a2uT for book recommendations and details of new releases, events and giveaways.

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Posted in Book Review, Crime, Suspense

Watch Over You M.J.Ford 4*#Review @MJFordBooks@AvonBooksUK #CrimeFiction #Suspense #DSJosieMasters #BookReview #WatchOverYou

The hunt is on. And this time, it’s personal…

When DS Josie Masters is called out to a house in North Oxford to investigate a serious incident, things take a personal turn. The body is Harry’s – her friend and former colleague.

Josie thought Harry lived alone, but evidence suggests he’d had a lodger – a young woman who has fled the scene.

And as more killings stun Oxford, the police discover the picture is more complicated than it appeared.

The young woman is on the run, and someone is following her – leaving a stack of bodies in their wake…

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Avon Books UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

A contemporary, gritty police procedural with a relatable female detective, and a complex investigation. DS Josie Masters is now a single mum returning to work for the first time since the birth of her son. She’s conflicted, but her driven personality and diligence to her role keeps her on active duty.

Her first murder is personal and violent, and old friend and everything is not as it first appears. The pacing is commensurate with the investigation, which is hampered by further seemingly unrelated deaths. I read this as a standalone enjoyably, but if you can read all of the books in the series to understand the character development and relationships at play.

This has a noir-crime ethos emphasised by the occasional chapters from a disturbed individual.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Suspense

Deadly Wishes Rachel McLean 4*#Review #DetectiveZoeFinch @rachelmcwrites @rararesources #CrimeFiction #Detective #WestMidlands #DeadlyWishes

Meet Zoe Finch, West Midlands Police’s newest Detective Inspector. She’s outspoken, ambitious, and damaged. And she’s working a case that could make her career, or cost her everything…

Fresh from the success of the Canary investigation into depravity and corruption at the highest levels, Zoe has attracted attention. Not least from Assistant Chief Constable Bryn Jackson.

But when Jackson is brutally murdered on the night of his retirement party, Zoe is dragged into a case that’s deeply personal.

All the evidence points to the victim’s downtrodden wife, who has secrets of her own. But Zoe begins to suspect all isn’t as it seems. Could Jackson’s death be linked to the Canary case? And what is her new boss, DCI David Randle, hiding?

Seeking out the truth will force Zoe to confront her own past and put her career, and her team’s lives, on the line.

Deadly Wishes is a gritty crime thriller.

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I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Female-led police procedurals are a favourite of mine, and this is one that I will add to my list of series to follow. Zoe Finch is a forceful character, dedicated to her career and her son. She’s intelligent and diligent and has caught the attention of the top echelons of the police after success in her last case. At the outset, the reader isn’t sure whether this due to her detecting skills or the threat she poses, to the hierarchy.

The death of a senior police officer puts Zoe in the middle of a politically sensitive murder inquiry. The victim had enemies, some close to home, and Zoe’s immediate superior seems determined to relegate her to the sidelines and close the case quickly.

Well-paced and plotted this story has an addictive quality. It explores contemporary issues concerning the police force, particularly corruption and misogyny. The characters are complex and relatable. The suspense building leads to many surprises, and there’s an undercurrent of menace increasing as the story reaches its climax.

My name’s Rachel McLean and I write thrillers that make you think.

What does that mean?

In short, I want my stories to make your pulse race and your brain tick.

Do you often get through a thriller at a breakneck pace but are left with little sense of what the book was really about? Do you sometimes read literary fiction but just wish something would damn well happen?

My books aim to fill that gap.

If you’d like to know more about my books and receive extra bonus content, please join my book club at rachelmclean.com/bookclub. I’ll send you a weekly email with news about my writing research and progress, stories and bonus content for each book. And I’ll let you know when my books are on offer.

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Posted in Book Review, Crime, Family Drama, Noir, Suspense

Somebody’s Daughter Carol Wyer 5*#Review #DetectiveNatalieWard @carolewyer @bookouture #CrimeFiction #Detective #SomebodysDaugther #BookReview

One by one the girls disappeared…

When the frail body of a teenage girl is discovered strangled in a parking lot, shards of ice form in Detective Natalie Ward’s veins. As Natalie looks at the freckles scattered on her cheeks and the pale pink lips tinged with blue, she remembers that this innocent girl is somebody’s daughter…

The girl is identified as missing teenager Amelia Saunders, who has run away from home and her controlling father. Natalie’s heart sinks further when it becomes clear that Amelia has been working on the streets, manipulated by her violent new boyfriend Tommy.

A day later, another vulnerable girl is found strangled on a park bench. Like Amelia, Katie Bray was a runaway with connections to Tommy, and Natalie is determined to find him and track down the monster attacking these scared and lonely girls.

But when a wealthy young woman is found murdered the next morning, the word ‘guilty’ scrawled on her forehead, Natalie realises that the case is more complex than she first thought. Determined to establish a connection between her three victims, Natalie wastes no time in chasing down the evidence, tracing everyone who crossed their paths. Then, a key suspect’s body turns up in the canal, a mole in Natalie’s department leaks vital information and everything seems to be against her. Can Natalie stop this clever and manipulative killer before they strike again?

An unputdownable crime thriller from an Amazon bestselling author that will have you sleeping with the light on.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Bookouture via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Natalie’s life is more settled, living with Mike, and in a new role. Still not sure if she can take a step away from the investigative arena, she finds herself at the sharp end again, overseeing her colleagues investigation. The murder of young, vulnerable women resonates with Natalie. She’s committed and determined to find the killer, but things are not as they first seem and someone is out to make trouble for the new team.

The balance of character development, team dynamic and police procedural is, as always perfect. The personal focus is more on DI Lucy Carmichael as she gets to grips with her new job. The investigation is meticulous, and the noir crime element ensures the edge of the seat suspense.

The Detective Natalie Ward series is addictive crime detection with a human touch.

Posted in Book Review, Crime, Murder Mystery

Deadly Secrets Ann Girdharry 4*#Review @GirdharryAnn @Bloodhoundbook #DeadlySecrets @rararesources #CrimeFiction #Detective #Psychologist #BlogBlitz #BookReview

How long can you get away with murder?

In an idyllic Sussex town, Mr Quinn whispers a secret on his death bed. Hours later the person who cared for Quinn is killed.

Mr Quinn’s secret sets off events unlike anything Detective Grant and Psychologist Ruby Silver have ever seen.

A series of deaths follow as a killer tries to cover their twenty-year trail of murder by drowning.

Grant, Silver and the team must track a killer who has been getting away with murder for years. But when treachery, corruption and secrets from the past are used against Sergeant Tom Delaney, the killer turns their attention to one of Grant’s own…

Detective David Grant and Psychologist Ruby Silver are back in this unmissable new crime thriller. It can be read as the sequel to Deadly Motives or as a brilliant stand-alone. 

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I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

The suspense builds from the beginning of this police procedural. A man shares a deathbed secret, and the person who hears it dies too.

When the story turns inward onto the police team, they behave professionally, which adds to the authenticity. Insight into the mind and motivations of the killer increases the level of menace and brings the antagonist to life in an alarming way.

Fast-paced, with realistic characters, heinous murders and clues in the past and present make this an enjoyable read for crime fiction enthusiasts.

Ann Girdharry is a British, crime thriller author.
She’s a trained psychotherapist and worked as a manager in the not-for-profit sector for many years.


Ann is an avid reader and her favourites are crime and suspense. She regularly talks about her favourite reads to her newsletter subscribers. She enjoys travelling and apart from the UK she’s lived in the USA (where her first daughter was born), Norway (where her second daughter was born) and she currently lives in France.

She was an ERIC HOFFER BOOK AWARD Finalist 2017.

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Posted in Book Review, Crime, Family Drama, Noir, Suspense

The Secret Admirer Carol Wyer 5*#Review #DetectiveNatalieWard @carolewyer @bookouture #CrimeFiction #Detective #TheSecretAdmirer #BookReview

‘I tried to talk to you today but you snubbed me and walked away. It wasn’t wise to give me the brush-off, Gemma. I can be a truly good friend but I also make the perfect enemy.’

Sasha’s eighteen-year-old daughter Gemma was all she had in the world. Sasha fell pregnant with Gemma when she was still at school, and the two are as close as sisters. So when Gemma’s burned and broken body is found, Sasha’s world ends. What kind of person would want her beautiful daughter dead?

Leading the case is Detective Natalie Ward, scarred by her own recent tragedy. When she finds a note in Gemma’s diary from a ‘secret admirer’, she moves quickly, determined to un-mask them. But interviews with Gemma’s devastated ex-boyfriend, and her charismatic teacher, who has been seen embracing his student far away from the classroom, don’t give Natalie the answers she’d hoped for…

And then the case takes a devastating, personal twist. CCTV footage reveals Natalie’s estranged husband David followed Gemma home every evening the week before she died.

Natalie is forced to put personal feelings aside and follow procedure, even though she can’t believe David could be guilty. But when Gemma’s housemate is found murdered, Natalie thinks the killer could still be at large. Is she right to trust her instincts about David and can she discover the truth before another precious life is taken?

Grippingly fast and nail-bitingly tense, The Secret Admirer will have you flying through the pages long into the night.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Bookouture via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

No spoilers but after what happened at the end of the previous book, The Blossom Twins it’s surprising Natalie can carry on.

Another horrific crime draws Natalie back to work. The investigation is complex and full of suspects a personal connection further threatens Natalie’s objectivity, but her professionalism shines through.

This book achieves the right balance of investigative and character detail. Natalie’s courage and tenacity make her easy to empathise. She’s flawed and human and relatable.

The plot keeps its secrets, engaging with clues but not revealing all until the end, making it realistic.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Travel

A Quiet Death In Italy Tom Benjamin 4*#Review @Tombenjaminsays @LittleBrownUK #Constable #CrimeFiction #Italy #PrivateDetective @rararesources #AQuietDeathInItaly #RachelsRandomResources #FridayThoughts #FridayFeeling

Bologna: city of secrets, suspicion . . . and murder

A dark and atmospheric crime thriller set in the beautiful Italian city of Bologna, perfect for fans of Donna Leon, Michael Dibdin and Philip Gwynne Jones.

When the body of a radical protestor is found floating in one of Bologna’s underground canals, it seems that most of the city is ready to blame the usual suspects: the police.

But when private investigator Daniel Leicester, son-in-law to a former chief of police, receives a call from the dead man’s lover, he follows a trail that begins in the 1970s and leads all the way to the rotten heart of the present-day political establishment.

Beneath the beauty of the city, Bologna has a dark underside, and English detective Daniel must unravel a web of secrets, deceit and corruption – before he is caught in it himself.

Tom Benjamin’s gripping debut transports you to the ancient and mysterious Italian city less travelled: Bologna.

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I received a copy of this book from Little Brown Books – Constable and the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Private Investigator Daniel’s intuition and experience make him an insightful and tenacious detective. He explores Bolgona’s radical past in this politicised murder mystery, searching for past connections with the present murder. The investigation is complex and intriguing as authentic characters come to life in a vibrant setting rife with inefficient bureaucracy, corruption and evil.

Tom Benjamin started off as a reporter before moving to the press office at Scotland Yard and running drugs awareness campaign FRANK. He moved to Bologna where his work as doorman at a homeless canteen inspired him to create English detective Daniel Leicester in a series that serves up equal helpings of the local cuisine and ubiquitous graffiti; the city’s splendour, decay, and danger.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime

Broken Silence Liz Mistry 5*#Review @LizMistryAuthor @HQStories D.S. Nikki Parekh #BrokenSilence #CrimeFiction @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview #Detective #weekendreads #RachelsRandomResources

When DS Felicity Springer is reported missing after a police training conference, the countdown to find her begins…

On her way home after an exhausting weekend, with colleagues she can’t wait to escape, Felicity notices something odd about the white van in front of her. A hand has punched through the car’s rear light and is frantically waving, trying to catch her attention.

Desperate to help, Felicity dials 999 and calls it in. But whilst on the phone, she loses control of the car on the icy road, crashing straight into the vehicle ahead.

Pinned in the seat and unable to move, Felicity feels a sudden whoosh of cold air across her face. Someone has opened the passenger door… and they have a gun.

With Felicity missing and no knowledge of whether she is dead or alive, DS Nikki Parekh and DC Sajid Malik race to find their friend and colleague.

But Felicity was harbouring a terrible secret, and with her life now hanging in the balance, Nikki can only hope that someone will come forward and break the silence…

Amazon UK Paperback Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from HQ via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is a gritty, police procedural focusing on modern slavery. Bradford and its criminal fraternity are brought to life by an author that knows the city well. DS Nikita Parekh is a dedicated police officer who believes in getting the job done. She wants justice for victims. The police team’s dynamic and the partnership between Nikki and Saj is believable. It keeps the reader invested in the investigation.

Contemporary and sometimes violent, this is a challenging read. With a complex pacy plot and relatable characters, this is hard-hitting suspenseful crime fiction.

Born in Scotland, Made in Bradford sums up Liz Mistry’s life. Over thirty years ago she moved from a small village in West Lothian to Yorkshire to get her teaching degree. Once here, Liz fell in love with three things; curries, the rich cultural diversity of the city … and her Indian husband (not necessarily in this order). Now thirty years, three children, two cats (Winky and Scumpy) and a huge extended family later, Liz uses her experiences of living and working in the inner city to flavour her writing. Her gritty crime fiction police procedural novels set in Bradford embrace the city she describes as ‘Warm, Rich and Fearless’ whilst exploring the darkness that lurks beneath.

Struggling with severe clinical depression and anxiety for a large number of years, Liz often includes mental health themes in her writing. She credits the MA in Creative Writing she took at Leeds Trinity University with helping her find a way of using her writing to navigate her ongoing mental health struggles. Being a debut novelist in her fifties was something Liz had only dreamed of and she counts herself lucky, whilst pinching herself regularly to make sure it’s all real. One of the nicest things about being a published author is chatting with and responding to readers’ feedback and Liz regularly does events at local libraries, universities, literature festivals and open mics. She also teaches creative writing too. Now, having nearly completed a PhD in Creative Writing focussing on ‘the absence of the teen voice in adult crime fiction’ and ‘why expansive narratives matter’, Liz is chock full of ideas to continue writing.

In her spare time, Liz loves pub quizzes (although she admits to being rubbish at them), dancing (she does a mean jig to Proud Mary – her opinion, not ratified by her family), visiting the varied Yorkshire landscape, with Robin Hoods Bay being one of her favourite coastal destinations, listening to music, reading and blogging about all things crime fiction on her blog, The Crime Warp. 

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Posted in Book Review, Crime, Gangland Crime, ganglit, Noir

Whatever It Takes Tadhg Coakley 4*#Review @MercierBooks #TadhgCoakley @LoveBooksGroup #LoveBooksTours #BookTour #BlogTour #BookReview #CrimeFiction #IrishCrime #Cork #noir #DetectiveGardaCollins #Vendetta #WhateverItTakes #WeekendRead

Set in Cork city, Detective Garda Collins is at war with the leading local criminal, Dominic Molloy. Unwilling to accept the human degradation caused by Molloy’s drugs, violence and prostitution. He has made up his mind to bring Molloy down, but just how far is he willing to go to make that happen? What is he willing to do and what fall-out will ensue for himself and his garda colleagues? This tense crime novel (the first in a series featuring Collins) tells the story of two immovable forces colliding. Something has to give. Running out of time before the murder of two teenagers becomes inevitable, and with a traitor in the garda station feeding information back to Molloy, Collins takes his battle to new heights. He is determined to win, whatever the cost, whatever it takes.

Mercier Press Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the author and Mercier Press in return for an honest review

My Thoughts

Atmospheric and complex this gritty crime story set in Cork explores a noir crime world. Collins has a turbulent history with Cork’s crime lord Molloy and is determined to end his crime empire. The story told from a third-person multi-person perspective is often lawless and violent.

Past events and guilt make Collins pursue Molloy with a single-minded determination. The plot has many characters and complexities. It’s not an easy read, but the writing is full of visual imagery and has a good sense of place and time.

Authentic characters and police procedures make this story realistic and menacing. Collins is a driven, enigmatic detective haunted by past actions and present motivations. His empathy for the vulnerable and sense of justice make him likeable.

Tadhg Coakley

Tadhg Coakley is from Mallow and lives in Cork city. His debut novel The First Sunday in September was shortlisted for the Mercier Press fiction prize and was published in 2018 to much acclaim. His sports writing has appeared in The Irish Examiner and The Holly Bough. He has also been published in The Stinging Fly, The Honest Ulsterman, Silver Apples, Quarryman and the From the Well anthology. He is a graduate of the MA in Creative Writing course at University College Cork. www.tadhgcoakley.com

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Family Drama, Historical Crime Fiction

A Fatal Truth Faith Martin 5* #Review @HQStories @FaithMartin_Nov #hisfic #CrimeFiction #Mystery #Retro #Oxford #1960s #BookReview #bookbloggers #BlogTour #RyderandLoveday #AFatalTruth

As the Hughes family celebrate bonfire night, a terrible accident leaves the garden shed in flames – and father and grandfather Thomas trapped inside.
 
Tragic though it is, Thomas’s death passes without suspicion – until a local journalist makes accusations of a police cover-up in the press. WPC Trudy Loveday is sent to investigate, and asks coroner Clement Ryder to help.
 
But the more questions the two ask the less clear the case seems. There’s no evidence of foul play, and yet the dead man’s family are obviously hiding something. Then there are Thomas’s dubious business practices – was someone out for revenge?
 
All Trudy and Clement know for sure is that everyone is lying – and that they must find the truth…
 

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from HQ via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

The fifth book in the ‘Ryder and Loveday Mystery’ series, ‘A Fatal Truth’ captures the 1960s perfectly. The mystery is a standalone but to appreciate the partnership between coroner Ryder and police officer Loveday read the previous books in the series.

Loveday’s confidence needs a boost, at the beginning of this story, and she’s apprehensive about working with Ryder again. The story portrays the misogyny prevalent in the 1960s’ police force showing that intelligence and solving crimes aren’t enough for women to succeed.

The story relies on observation and astute detection skills rather than forensics and technology. The clever plot has authentic characters and dialogue. The character development of Loveday is notable and contrasts with Ryder’s ailing health. There is a feeling of the end drawing near for this enigmatic partnership.