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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Constable, 27 September 2017. ISBN: 978-1-4721-2537-8 (HB).
Cath Staincliffe used to write straightforward police procedurals, albeit with
protagonists who had real, complicated family lives outside work. More
recently, she has picked up the complicated family lives ball, and not only run
with it but sprinted off into the distance, way ahead of other crime writers.
She has tackled the fallout the victim's family faces after a murder; the agony
of being thousands of miles away from the scene of a crime involving a family
member; the wider ramifications of a terrorist attack; and now, the effect of a
major crime on the families of the perpetrators.
But The Girl in the Green
Dress is more than that. It's hardly a spoiler at all to mention that the
murder victim, eighteen-year-old Allie, is transgender, another emotive issue
which is explored from several angles. The narrative even offers a take on a
couple more sensitive areas: what happens to a failed asylum seeker with a
conscience, and the way mental health problems impact on the workplace.
Allie's battered body is
found after the school prom, still in her beautiful green dress. Her immediate
family, already damaged by life but totally supportive of her decision to
transition from boy to girl, are devastated. DI Donna Bell assembles her
investigation team, notably rookie DC Jade Bradshaw and experienced DS Martin
Harris, and sets out to find Allie's killers.
The investigation gets off to
a flying start – but unknown to Donna, there are big hurdles ahead, in her own
life, and even more disruptively from parents who can't bear the thought of
brutal murder being connected to their teenage kids.
And this is where Cath
Staincliffe comes into her own. It's a crime novel, so the reader knows right
is sure to win out eventually. But it's also a lot more. The triumph of good
over evil doesn't always happen easily; inevitably, and in this case
especially, the evil leaves its dark footprint behind it. Futures are wrecked,
relationships founder and life will never approach anything like normality
again for just about everyone close to the action.
I've long regarded Cath
Staincliffe as one of the best kept secrets of British crime fiction. It's high
time that secret was out in the open, and she received the acclaim and success
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick
Staincliffewas brought up in
Bradford and hoped to become an entomologist (insects) then a trapeze artist
before settling on acting at the age of eight. She graduated from
Birmingham University with a Drama and Theatre Arts degree and moved to work as
a community artist in Manchester where she now lives with her family. Looking
for Trouble, published in 1994, launched private eye Sal, a single parent
struggling to juggle work and home, onto Manchester’s mean streets. It
was short listed for the Crime Writers Association’s John Creasey best first
novel award, serialised on BBC Radio 4, Woman’s Hour and awarded Le Masque de
l’Année in France. Cath has published a further seven Sal Kilkenny
mysteries. Cath is also a scriptwriter, creator of ITV’s hit police
series, Blue Murder, which ran for five series from 2003 – 2009
starring Caroline Quentin as DCI Janine Lewis. Cath writes for radio and
created the Legacy drama series which features a chalk-and-cheese,
brother and sister duo of heir hunters whose searches take them into the past
lives of families torn apart by events. Trio, a stand-alone novel,
moved away from crime to explore adoption and growing up in the 1960s.
Cath’s own story, of tracing and being re-united with her Irish birth family
and her seven brothers and sisters, featured in the television documentary Finding
Cath from RTE. Cath is a founder member of Murder Squad, a
virtual collective of northern crime writers. She is an avid reader and
likes hill-walking, messing about in the garden and dancing (with far more
enthusiasm than grace).
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.