As a founder member of Mystery Women in 1997, promoting Crime Fiction has always been my passion.
Following the closure of Mystery Women, a new group was formed on 30th January 2012 promoting crime fiction.
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Published by Orion, 5 December 2013. ISBN:
Overcome by the rigours of the Indian climate, Alice Willoughby's
mother died soon after her birth. Her father was often away from home and Alice
was brought up by her adoring ayah, Mini, until the day her father decided to
wrench her away from the land of her birth and take her back to live in
Back in Victorian England,
Alice's father placed her in the care of her late mother's sister while he returned
to India. Alice's Aunt Mercy is a strange, harsh woman, ruled by anger, envy
and her addiction to opium. When Alice's father dies in India, Alice is left
totally under Mercy's cruel domination. Mercy augments her income by working as
a fake medium and is vindictively jealous when she realises that Alice truly
possesses the gift of communicating with the dead that Mercy craves. Into this
dangerous situation comes Lucian Tilsbury, who had known Alice's father in
India. Despite a disfiguring scar on one side of his face, Tilsbury is a
handsome, compelling man, who swiftly has Mercy under his control. However,
although he uses and manipulates Mercy, it is Alice that he wants.
At the end of the Anglo-Sikh
wars the priceless and sacred jewel, the Koh-i-Noor diamond, had been claimed
by Britain and cut down to make a brooch for Queen Victoria. Tilsbury draws
Mercy and Alice into a dangerous plot to steal the diamond and return it to
India. Alice spends her life drugged, abused and tortured by visions of the
after life and she is desperate to escape her captors and achieve safety and
independence and the control of her own life.
The bulk of the story is told
in the First Person narration of the central character, Alice, and, as she
spends a large part of the time drugged and receiving visitations from the
dead, this results in a somewhat hallucinogenic and bewildering reading
experience, which, at the same time is compelling. Short narratives from other
characters allow the reader to understand aspects of the story that Alice does
not have access to, including a truly stunning revelation on the final page.
This is a fascinating,
fast-paced, beautifully written book and well worth reading.
Reviewer: Carol Westron
Essie Fox was born
and raised in Herefordshire, after studying English Literature at Sheffield
University, Essie moved to London, first to work for the Telegraph Sunday
Magazine and then for the book publishers, George, Allen & Unwin. A change
of career when a daughter was born saw Essie become an illustrator - a passion
that lasted twenty years until she began to write instead. She now writes
Gothic Victorian novels. The Somnambulist,
Elijah's Mermaid, and her latest, The Goddess and the Thief, are published
by Orion Books.
Essie now divides her time between Bow in East London and Windsor - from where
she pursues her writing career.
Carol Westronis a successful short story writer and a Creative
Writing teacher.She is the moderator
for the cosy/historical crime panel, The Deadly Dames.Her crime novels are set both in contemporary
and Victorian times.The Terminal
Velocity of Cats is the first in her Scene of Crimes novels, was published
July 2013. Her second book About the
Children was published in May 2014.