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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by Allen & Unwin, 3 March 2016. ISBN: 978-0-92526-681-8
manufacturing illegal drugs, car chases: typical ingredients of a fast-paced
thriller, wouldn’t you say?
How about knitting, cooking,
bridge and the cutest, best-behaved baby that ever drew breath?
In Hester and Harriet,
Hilary Spiers manages to include all of
the above, with hardly a policeman in sight, give or take the odd village bobby
and a raid on a cannabis farm that takes place off-stage. The eponymous
characters are sisters, both widowed, formerly a senior local government
officer and comprehensive school teacher, enjoying a peaceful retirement in a
rural village; the most excitement in their lives is the occasional skirmish
with another vehicle on account of Harriet’s terrible driving.
Then one Christmas they find
themselves rescuing Daria, a young eastern European woman, and her baby Milo,
who they discover sleeping in a bus shelter. Shortly afterwards Ben, their
teenage nephew, arrives on the doorstep in search of sanctuary from his
over-protective parents – and Hester and Harriet’s quiet existence is set to
become a lot more interesting.
As Daria’s unfortunate story
unfolds, village life goes on, though not quite as normal. There’s gossip over
an afternoon of bridge regarding a dispute between a snooty neighbour and the
local philanderer turned property developer. Finbar the highly educated tramp
finds himself involved in a dispute with a shady character. The vicar’s wife
starts behaving quite out of character. And Ben, a typical fifteen-year-old,
acne-ridden, school-phobic and welded to his mobile phone, reveals hidden
Hester, Harriet, Daria and
Ben are rounded, believable characters: ordinary people caught up in
extraordinary circumstances. Both the village background and the supporting
characters are two-dimensional and just a little larger than life: do-gooders
Isabelle and George, opinionated Peggy, wide-boy Teddy, a tweedy solicitor,
an avuncular desk sergeant, a distinctly seedy private detective. There’s even
a martinet of a hospital sister for good measure – but it all works in the
context of a gentle, humorous narrative in which two ladies of a certain age
discover that there’s a big, bad world outside their cosy sitting room, and
that they quite enjoy the stimulation it provides. And of course it all turns
out fine in the end.
The result is an easy read,
comforting in the face of the real big, bad world, beautifully written and perfectly
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick
Hilary Spiers is a novelist, award-winning short story writer and
playwright. She enjoys writing about ordinary women in extraordinary
circumstances. Hilary lives in the finest stone town in England, with her
husband and their neurotic cat Lola. When she isn't writing (which she is most
of the time), she is directing, performing or cooking up a storm. Pies are a
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