[Police officers Sadler and Connie are attending a colleague’s wedding while in the middle of a major investigation]
‘Do you want to go for a walk? It’s at least another half an hour before we eat. I’ve just checked.’
Connie looked at Sadler in surprise. ‘It’s freezing outside. I’ve only got this dress and my coat. Where did you have in mind?’
Sadler for the first time seemed to take in what Connie was wearing. She had a wraparound dress that fell to her knees. She had thought about putting heels on but one look at the weather had changed her mind and she had put on her suede boots with the wedges. They would be ruined if it was raining.
‘Is this the first time I’ve seen you in a dress?’
A retort rose to her lips but again she could see that Sadler was smiling at her. ‘It doesn’t matter. I thought outside because we could get some peace to talk…’
observations: I wrote recently about the launch party for Sarah Ward’s book – I met Sarah online via a shared interest in crime fiction, so I was delighted that she has just had her first crime novel published, and it is set to be a great success and, we hope, the first of many. The characters - including those above, and the intriguing groom at the wedding – have great potential.
I loved the book. I raced through it, unwilling to put it down, anxious to know what happened. It’s exactly the kind of crime book I most enjoy: solid plot, great characters, excellent clues, and a crime in the past coming back to haunt the present-day.
In 1978, two young girls were abducted as they walked to primary school. One came back, remembering little of what happened, and the other one hasn’t been seen since. More than 30 years later the mother of the missing girl commits suicide. What has happened to finally tip her over the edge? The police investigate, and so does the other girl, Rachel Jones, the one who came back. She is now a genealogist, and she starts tracking down details about the people concerned.
The plot is complex and fascinating, and deals with the secrets, lies and mysteries that attach to all families. It’s very good on the differences between 1978 and now, and uses those aspects to great advantage in the plot – from variations in morals and changes in attitudes, to the fact that the two little girls walked to school alone, as was normal then.
It is also simply GREAT to read a crime book with strong female characters (good and bad) and with serious issues at the heart, but without really gruesome and unpleasant descriptions, too much violence, or horrible details. It can be done!
More 1978 detail came with the Green Shield stamps and the long white socks – knobbly with a pattern snaking down the side, as worn by every 8 year old girl going to school then:
When we first meet Rachel she is yanking at them…
So all in all a great read, and my only complaint is related to the clothes descriptions (of course): the outfit above is exactly what you can imagine Connie wearing for a wedding, and I also just loved this description of Nancy, a lively woman in her 90s:
She was dressed in a pale mauve cardigan over a light grey dress from Marks and Spencer that Connie [about 30?] had tried on earlier that week and had decided was too young for her.So Sarah should do more of them – she gets them right, and they add to the understanding of character. She kept me quiet at her party by assuring me that she will do more in future…
The top picture is a TV presenter called Louise Roe.