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Friday 15 December 2017

‘The Girl in the Green Dress’ by Cath Staincliffe

Published by Constable,
27 September 2017.
ISBN: 978-1-4721-2537-8 (HB)

The girl in the title is Allie Kennaway, an 18-year old who leaves home with her friends to enjoy the School prom.  She loses contact with her friends and is found beaten to death - and so the hunt for the murderer begins.  It seems that Allie has been the victim of a hate crime because of her transgender identity and, as the investigation progresses, her father and younger sister struggle to come to terms with their loss.  Theirs is not the only family which has to deal with the consequences of this crime.  The detectives too face their own problems in handling such a sensitive case – personal goals do not disappear in the face of tragedy.  In particular, Jade, the new member of the team, feels that her contributions are not being valued by her boss and colleagues and perhaps, of all the characters, strikes a slightly discordant note.

The story looks at the events from a variety of perspectives and individuals and treats the issues raised sensitively.  Ultimately, despite the positive tone of the vigil organised to remember Allie, this is a sad story of loss.
Reviewer:  Jo Hesslewood

Other books by the author:  apart from the Scott and Bailey Series and the Sal Kilkenny mysteries, Cath Staincliffe has written a number of stand alone books, including:  The Silence between Breaths, Half a World Away, Make Believe, Blue Murder, Witness and Desperate Measures
Cath Staincliffe was 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).

Jo Hesslewood.  Crime fiction has been my favourite reading material since as a teenager I first spotted Agatha Christie on the library bookshelves.  For twenty-five years the commute to and from London provided plenty of reading time.  I am fortunate to live in Cambridge, where my local crime fiction book club, Crimecrackers, meets at Heffers Bookshop .  I enjoy attending crime fiction events and currently organise events for the Margery Allingham Society.

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