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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Head of Zeus, 13 August 2015. ISBN: 978-1-781853139, (HB)
Since crime fiction outsells every other genre, it’s hardly surprising
that publishers go to some trouble to shoehorn as many books as possible into
that category – but sometimes it’s an uneasy fit.
The jacket blurb of In the
Name of Love refers to a murder, and a kind of second prologue (the first
lasts two pages and works well) hints at a possible identity of the killer, but
the murder itself doesn’t happen till later in the book.
This is in fact a thoughtful,
well-written and engrossing piece of literary fiction. Ninety percent of the
narrative explores the nature of grief: how it leads to a sense of dislocation
and isolates the sufferer, and how, gradually, he or she returns to the world
and begins to rejoin it. I suspected a large element of autobiography in the
storyline: middle-aged man, widowed suddenly and too soon, shuts himself away
on a sparsely populated island in a country which is not his own, and slowly
allows his frozen feelings to thaw.
There’s a lyrical quality to
the descriptions of the passing seasons and the way the slow slide of winter
into spring reflects the protagonist’s emotional state. His house, which was to
be a summer retreat and wasn’t really designed for year-round living, falls
victim to heavy snowfall, and the extensive repairs form another effective
A variety of well-drawn
characters cross the protagonist’s path: a careless, selfish friend from his
previous life; a neighbour who is terminally ill but determined to squeeze the
last drop out of his remaining months; a family of immigrants with a tragic and
somewhat ambiguous past.
The main female character is
a young woman whose flippant, almost brazen front doesn’t quite conceal inner
hurt and insecurity: exactly the kind of victim crime writers love. And since
her murder is flagged up in the cover blurb, it’s no spoiler to say what she
turns out to be. Variouspeople have a
motive for killing her – but nonetheless I was left feeling that the author had
set out to write another kind of book altogether.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick
Patrick Smith was born in Ireland. He has spent most of his life as
a translator in Sweden and, having published novels and short stories in
Swedish, began his first novel in English at the age of seventy.
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.