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Wednesday, 16 August 2017

‘The Property of Lies’ of Lies by Marjorie Eccles

Published by Severn House,
31 May 2017.

In the 1930s a female teacher who married was not allowed to retain her job in a state school, and so Ellen Reardon is delighted when she is offered the position of French Mistress at the newly-founded Maxstead Court School, a private school that is owned and run by Miss Edith Hillyard, a somewhat unconventional headmistress. Mademoiselle Blanchard, the former French teacher, had left unexpectedly and Miss Hillyard is eager for Ellen to start work at once.

The school building was, until recently, an old manor house, and parts of it still need renovation. To Ellen’s horror, on her first day at the school, she is one of the people to discover the dead body of a young woman amongst the rubble of the unrestored part of the house. It is possible that the victim had fallen accidentally to her death but the concealment of her body indicates a more sinister solution. Ellen’s husband, Detective Inspector Herbert Reardon, is called in to investigate. This places Ellen in an awkward position of divided loyalties. Should she share with her husband information and observations gained during her employment in the school or is it better to maintain a discreet silence? However difficult Ellen finds it, she knows that justice must prevail, especially when it becomes clear that Maxstead Court School contains many secrets and is the centre of great unhappiness. Other violent incidents follow and a child goes missing. It becomes a race against time for Inspector Reardon to discover the truth before the murderer kills again.

A Property of Lies is an intriguing mystery with an interesting 1930s background and some fascinating characters. The central characters of Ellen and Herbert Reardon are very likeable and it is an enjoyable read.
Reviewer: Carol Westron

Marjorie Eccles was born in Yorkshire and spent much of her childhood there and on the Northumbrian coast. The author of more than twenty books and short stories, she is the recipient of the Agatha Christie Short Story Styles Award. Her books featuring police detective Gil Mayo were adapted for the BBC. She lives in Hertfordshire.

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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