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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From the story by TV
series creator Chris Chibnall
Published by Sphere in paperback, 14 August 2014. ISBN:
It’s a slightly odd experience, reading a murder mystery novel and
knowing whodunit before I even picked it up. There can’t be many fans of the
genre who don’t know who killed Danny Latimer and left his body lying on the
beach in the small Dorset town of Broadchurch back in the spring of 2013.
no spoilers here, just in case there are still a few people who remain out of
TV tie-in novels are thin and unsatisfying without the actors to bring them to
life. Not so here; Erin Kelly is an experienced novelist, and she has made an
excellent job of translating Chris Chibnall’s tight scripts into prose fiction
which gives as little away but is still as rich and absorbing as the drama.
Fortunately there’s a lot more to it than a straightforward murder
investigation; the meat of the narrative is the effect an event of this magnitude
has on a small community where such things simply aren’t expected to happen.
This element is explored on the page no less carefully and sensitively than on
the screen; Kelly has the knack of drawing the reader in, to the extent that
when I finally put the book down, I felt as if I had been part of the tragedy
which assaulted the town.
characters and location were already in place, of course, but Kelly has brought
them to life on the page just as effectively as Chibnall and the team of actors
and directors did on the screen; careful use of interior monologue has, if
anything, added some complexity and made them even more real. By the end
Broadchurch was a familiar place, and Beth and Mark, Ellie and Hardy, Maggie
and Ollie, even Karen White the incomer journalist, were people I knew.
knowing the end meant I needed a different approach from usual. What intrigued
me about the TV series, and no less about the novel, was exactly how the
viewer/reader was misdirected; it wasn’t till close to the end, when the pool
of suspects was beginning to run dry, that I had the slightest inkling who the
murderer was, and I was fascinated to know how that was achieved. It took a
while, but eventually I sussed it. All the other major characters, suspects,
police and all, are given their moments behind the camera: scenes which are
related from their point of view. The murderer isn’t afforded this privilege
until his/her identity has been revealed.
subtly done, and I had to think about it and check carefully. And there are one
or two moments which made me think, would someone with a murder on his/her
conscience really react like that? But that was the case in the TV version as
well, so it’s not down to Erin Kelly.
all round, the book is at least as successful as the TV drama – and that’s
saying a great deal.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick
Erin Kelly is a
freelance journalist and lives in North London with her family. The Poison Tree was her first novel.
Lynne Patrick has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen,
and has enjoyed success with short stories, reviews and feature journalism, but
never, alas, with a novel. She crossed to the dark side to become a publisher
for a few years, and is proud to have launched several careers which are now
burgeoning. She lives on the edge of rural Derbyshire in a house groaning with
books, about half of them crime fiction.