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Monday, 1 January 2018

‘Legacy’ by Jim Napier



Published by Friesen Press,
24 April 2017.
ISBN: 978-1-46029975-3 (HB)
978-1-46029976-0 (PB)

Sally Beck was born into a working-class family in Yorkshire.  She was fortunate in that she was able to attend an elite girl’s school paid for by her grandmother, who died when Sally was fifteen.

In London in 2015 a young woman is fatally involved in a traffic accident.  Initially the incident is ascribed to either an accident, or possibly suicide.  However, the absence of any identification results in the matter being deemed ‘a suspicious death’ and Detective Inspector Colin McDermott is assigned to establish her identity and trace her family, and/or next of kin.  He sets his team Albert George Ridley one of the last surviving post war bobbies on the beat from the 1950’s, and new DC Wilhenina Quinn to discover the victim’s identity. A most unlikely coupling.

Their investigations lead them to St Gregory’s college, and not one identity but two! Willy Quinn proves to be no stranger to lateral thinking and puts forward several interesting scenarios.  As the investigation becomes centred on St Gregory’s which incidentally is Colin McDermott’s alma mater. Further complications arise when he learns that his old Tutor and mentor is still teaching at St Gregory’s, and his case has turned into the search for a murderer, who strikes again.

DI Colin McDermott like many officers of his rank is delicately treading the minefield of inter-office politics, and also his complicated personal life.  

This is a fascinating mystery enhanced by the in-depth characterisation of the inmates of St Gregory’s. What a motley crew!  The college abounds with politics and intrigues.    And of course, at the heart of the story is the fate of Sally Beck, but by whose hand and why?

An absolutely top-class whodunit.  I so love them.  And despite my 60 years of reading whodunit’s I didn’t spot the murderer.  I see that this is the first in a series and I look forward to the next. Highly recommended.
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Reviewer: Lizzie Sirett

Jim Napier turned to writing full time, after a successful academic career that included teaching crime fiction and creative writing.. Since then he has published nearly five hundred reviews, interviews, and articles about crime writers, both in print and on multiple Internet sites, and has participated in writing workshops in Britain and Canada. He has chaired or participated in panels on crime fiction at Montreal's Bleu Metropolis literary festival and at the Canadian crime writing festival, Bloody Words. He has twice served on juries for the Arthur Ellis Awards for Canadian crime writing, and in 2010 he chaired the Arthur Ellis Awards. Along with such notable crime writers as Louise Penny, Peter James, Sophie Hannah, Simon Brett, Marcia Talley and Rhys Bowen he contributed to an anthology on the craft of crime writing titled Now Write! Mysteries, published by Tarcher/Penguin. In 2012 he was commissioned to write biographies for several Canadian crime writers for the Canadian Encyclopedia, and also joined Louise Penny in co-chairing a fiction writing workshop at the Knowlton LitFest. Legacy is his first crime novel in the Colin McDermott Mysteries; the second, Ridley's War, is nearing completion.

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