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Monday 15 August 2016

'The Fragility of Poppies' by Carol Westron

Published by Pentangle Press,
10 June 2016.
 ISBN  978-1530757268

Carol is establishing a whole world for her crime tales, of which this is the third.  She has a fictional town called Galmouth on the English South coast which is where this story happens.  The fictionality of the setting is belied by the solid characterisations of the participants, both major and minor, in this thrilling adventure.  

Detective Inspector Rick Evans had led an investigation into the disappearance of 3 girls 4 years before these events take place.  They had been killed - their bodies were found in Elmwash Woods - and the main suspect for their murders committed suicide before any trial could be held.  Rick is haunted by his memories and his marriage to Annie is falling apart.   She is a lecturer at an Art school and an artist who has her own haunting memories but neither of them has shared their traumas with the other.

The disappearance of 7 year old Stacie Frewer  means that Rick is plunged back into his memories with the added fear that he might have got it wrong and that the murderer of the 3 girls had not died and is killing again.   Annie and Rick are very convincing characters whose efforts to do their jobs and to sort out their relationship often conflict.  The various issues that lurk between them often have roots way back into their earlier lives; interesting flashbacks gradually fill out the picture for the reader. 

The mystery to be solved by the police is, of course, the disappearance of a child and the harrowing developments in this story take centre stage.  There are many complications that Carol cleverly weaves into the story and many relevant colleagues, relatives and friends participate.  The involvement with colleagues and friends blind Annie and Rick to any outside threats.  A dramatic denouement is achieved, partly through this ignorance.  The efforts of police colleagues, relatives and other friends help to save the situation!  

Carol Westron has produced another story which rivets the reader's attention throughout.   The intricacies of the investigation and the interactions of the main characters and those around them provide a fascinating story with a satisfying conclusion.
Reviewer: Jennifer S. Palmer
Previous books by Carol, in the same South Coast setting but featuring different protagonists are The Terminal Velocity of Cats and About the Children.

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 latest book The Fragility of Poppies was published 10 June 2016.


Jennifer Palmer Throughout my reading life crime fiction has been a constant interest; I really enjoyed my 15 years as an expatriate in the Far East, the Netherlands & the USA but occasionally the solace of closing my door to the outside world and sitting reading was highly therapeutic. I now lecture to adults on historical topics including Famous Historical Mysteries.

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