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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Poisoned Pen Press, 5 January 2016. ISBN: 978-1-46420501-9 (HB)
It’s 1941, and outside the tiny, isolated village of Noddweir somewhere
in middle England war is raging and the Blitz is sending people in cities
running for cover.
The good (and not quite so
good) people of Noddweir have taken in a group of evacuee children from one of
those cities – but all is far from well. Local children as well as more
resourceful city kids are disappearing, and the village people are turning
against each other as a sense of desperation invades their peace.
Into this grim atmosphere of
resentment and suspicion comes Edwin Carpenter, an American professor with an
interest in British folklore. He wants to study the Guardians, a stone circle
of the edge of the village, regarded by some of Noddweir’s inhabitants as an
evil influence, possibly responsible for the children’s disappearance. Edwin
lodges with Grace Baxter, who is trying to fill the role her father, the
village constable who has joined the army, has left empty. Grace’s grandmother
Martha is the local wise woman, and has her own views about the Guardians.
Edwin goes about his research, but becomes involved in Grace’s investigation
whether he wants to or not.
Eric Reed (actually Mary Reed
and Eric Mayer, co-authors of a series set in 6th century Byzantium)
is/are American, and can be forgiven for a portrayal of English village life
which owes more to Thomas Hardy than Foyle’s War. The book’s greatest
strength is the atmosphere. The dark, looming forest on the edge of the village
seems to exude fear and malignity. Unlike most real-life stone circles, the
Guardians attract unsavoury elements; and when, quite late in the day, the body
count begins to rise, the stones act as a focus for the village’s despair.
The Guardian Stones is an interesting take on wartime mystery: no spies,
no plots against the enemy, just ordinary people in extraordinary
circumstances, with an extra layer of spookiness thrown in for good measure.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick
Eric Reed is a pseudonym for Mary Reed & Eric Mayer. They are the
coauthors of eleven books in the John, the Lord Chamberlain series, set in 6th
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.