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Wednesday 11 October 2017

‘The Golden Hour’ by M.K. Graff

Published by Bridle Path Press,
1 July 2017.
ISBN: 978-0-9908287-8-5

Since Nora Tierney left America to live in England her life has changed in many ways. One of the most tragic changes was that her fiancé Paul Pembroke died in a plane crash just as Nora was preparing to break up with him. Paul never knew that Nora was carrying his child but he left her well provided for in his will. Although Nora felt that their relationship had no long-term future, mainly because of Paul’s obsession with his work, she was saddened by his death. Many good friends supported Nora through this difficult time and she moved from Oxford to the Lake District and established herself as an up-and-coming writer of children’s books. Nora’s baby was a son, Sean, whom she adores. In the last year, she has started a new relationship with Declan Barnes, a detective inspector that she encountered when she became involved in three separate murder enquiries.

At the start of The Golden Hour, after several months of a long-distance relationship, Nora is planning her move back to Oxford to be near Declan, although she is uncertain whether he will wish to commit himself to moving in with her and Sean. In Oxford Nora plans to go house-hunting and spend time with Declan and also with her best friend, Val. During her trip, she is looking forward to catching up with many good friends throughout the south of England. However, she feels some trepidation when she contemplates taking Sean to stay with his English grandparents at their stately home in Cornwall, as her first encounter with them, at Paul’s funeral, had been painful. The last leg of her trip is to give her first author presentation at a Bath bookshop.

Nora’s pleasure in her holiday crumbles when she discovers an eavesdropping device that has been put in her bag. This ties in with the glimpses she has had of a tall man wearing a medley of baseball caps who, she now realises, has been following her. To her horror, Nora realises that she is being stalked.

As soon as she reaches Oxford she turns the device over to Declan, who starts to look into the matter. However, the bulk of Declan’s time and attention is taken up with his investigation into the death of a young art restorer. What starts as a worrying case turns into the stuff of nightmares when he finds himself at the centre of a bio-terror threat.

After a pleasant visit to her friends in Oxford, during which Nora discovers her ideal house and contemplates adopting a sweet little puppy, she has an enjoyable time with Paul’s parents, who adore their grandson, but even there she fears she may be watched. When she reaches Bath, Nora’s fears increase when she discovers a tracking device on her car. At the same time, the pressure around Declan’s investigation grows more intense and soon it becomes clear that his case and Nora’s stalker are in some way linked. Then Nora has to face the most heart-wrenching and terrifying ordeal that any parent has to undergo.

The Golden Hour is the fourth in the series of books featuring Nora Tierney. The first three books are enjoyable cosy crime books in which the author has created a community of distinctive and likeable characters, but The Golden Hour moves into new and exciting territory. It is still full of engaging characters and heart-warming domestic details, but it also has a strong and complex plot and themes that make the book incredibly powerful. This is cosy crime at the height of its game. The Golden Hour has all of the warm charm of the rest of the Nora Tierney series but with an edge-of-the-seat quality that makes it a real page-turner. Thoroughly recommended.
Reviewer: Carol Westron

Marni Graff is the author of the Nora Tierney mystery series, set in the UK. She is also co-author of Writing in a Changing World, a primer on writing groups and critique techniques. A member of Sisters in Crime, Graff runs the NC Writers Read program in Belhaven and founded the group Coastal Carolina Mystery Writers. She has also published poetry, last seen in Amelia Earhart: A Tribute; her creative nonfiction has most recently appeared in Southern Women’s Review. Her most recent book is The Golden Hour published July 2017.

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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