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Tuesday 26 May 2015

‘A Cruel Necessity’ by L.C. Tyler

Published by Constable, 
6 November 2014.
ISBN: 978-1-4721-1503-4 (HB)

7 May 2015. ISBN: 978-14721-1504-1(PB)

In 1657, Oliver Cromwell's republic has ruled England for eight years, but many people are unhappy under Puritan rule, and the son of the executed king is still in exile, waiting for his chance to return. John Grey is a young lawyer, who is newly qualified and, having no clients, has recently returned to live with his mother in his small Essex village. Returning home, drunk, from the village inn, John has a chance encounter with a stranger riding a lame horse. The next morning, early, he finds the body of a murdered man, which has been left on a dung heap.

It seems that nobody in the village wishes to delve too deeply into the crime, including those whose duty it is to investigate murder and uphold the law. John is determined to discover the truth but, on all sides, he is surrounded by evasions from neighbours and friends that he had known all his life. It seems as though the whole village possesses some dark, hidden knowledge and, since his sojourn in Cambridge, John is outside the community. Against the advice of those who care about him, John is determined to discover the truth, no matter how great the cost to himself.

A Cruel Necessity is an absorbing murder mystery and John Grey is an appealing protagonist, but this is also a stunning study of an uneasy and harsh decade in English history, when the aftermath of civil war had scarred the people who had survived it and they were still desperately seeking the best strategy for survival. I found this book a fascinating and illuminating read.
Reviewer: Carol Westron

L. C. Tyler was raised in Essex and studied geography at Jesus College Oxford University before going on to study systems analysis at City University in London. He worked for the Bristish Council in Mayaysia, Sudan, Thailand and Denmark, before becoming Chief Executive of the Royal College of Pardiatrics and Child Health, then a full-time writer. Tyler's 2007 novel The Herring Seller's Apprentice was nominated for an Edgar Award for "Best Paperback Original".

Carol Westron is 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.

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