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Sunday 16 July 2017

‘Deadly Alibi’ by Leigh Russell

Published by No Exit Press,
25 May 2017.
ISBN: 978-1-84344-850-1

A woman’s body is crammed into a wheelie bin and left outside a charity shop. As soon as the dead woman is identified, most of the detectives investigating the case suspect the woman’s husband. For them it is obvious, after all the husband has scratches on his face and his DNA matches skin under the victim’s fingernails, and the bin used to dispose of the corpse comes from their house. The detective team build their case against him and the evidence against him continues to mount up, especially when his alibi witness fails to turn up to back his claim of being elsewhere. However DI Geraldine Steele has nagging doubts about the man’s guilt.

Geraldine is glad of a case to involve her mind and help her to shelve the troubles that are disturbing her personal life. Geraldine’s birth mother had given her up for adoption when she was a baby and Geraldine had been adopted by a middle-class, respectable family who had given her the chances in life that enabled her to achieve a pleasant life style and a good career. However, Geraldine wished to meet her birth mother and was hurt by her refusal. Her birth mother changed her mind shortly before her death, but it seems that one of the main motives for this was to ask Geraldine to take care of her twin sister, Helena, who had not been given up for adoption. After her birth-mother’s death, Geraldine knows that she must tread very carefully. Helena is a heroin addict, petty thief and prostitute, but she is also Geraldine’s identical twin and Geraldine feels impelled to help her and attempt to make a relationship with her.

As Geraldine tries to balance her personal life and the murder investigation, she discovers that neither are straight-forward. Her underlying disillusionment with an investigation that is focused on the simplest solution and a fast clear-up rate, is compounded by the choices she must make in her personal life and the danger she faces of destroying the career that is the centre of her life.

Deadly Alibi is the ninth book in the series featuring Geraldine Steele. It is an intricate, cleverly plotted police procedural with a well-drawn cast of characters. A very enjoyable read.
Reviewer: Carol Westron

Leigh Russell studied at the University of Kent gaining a Master’s degree in English and American literature. Formerly a secondary school English teacher, with the success of her Geraldine Steel series, Leigh now writes full-time. Her debut novel, Cut Short, was published in 2009 by No Exit Press in the UK, followed by Road Closed, Dead End, Death Bed, Stop Dead, Fatal Act and Killer Plan, all featuring detective Geraldine Steel, and Murder Ring will be published in 2016. Leigh also writes a spinoff series for Geraldine's sergeant, Ian Peterson. Cold Sacrifice, Race to Death and Blood Axe.  Leigh recently signed a three-book deal with Thomas and Mercer for a new series featuring Lucy Hall. Leigh Russell is married with two daughters and lives in Middlesex.

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.

Read a review of Carol’s latest book
The Fragility of Poppies


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