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Monday 19 February 2018

‘The Malice of Angels’ by Wendy Percival

Published by Silverwood Books,
13 October 2017.
ISBN 978-1-78132-694-7

Esme Quentin does genealogical research and is asked to find out about the mystery of Vivienne, a wartime nurse who never came home from WW2.  Esme’s friend, Ruth, wants to know what happened to her aunt so that Bea (Ruth’s mother and Vivienne‘s sister) can come to terms with this loss.   Bea, however, is reluctant to sanction such an investigation.  Esme has just moved to a cottage in North Devon near to her friend, Ruth.  Just before her move Max, a friend of her murdered husband, Tim, contacted her to see if Tim’s notebooks mentioned a particular matter.   Both Tim and Max were investigative journalists but she had not seen Max since Tim’s funeral, about 15 years earlier.     Esme doesn’t find anything significant in a cursory search of Tim’s files. She is, therefore, considering two separate problems but gradually she realises that there are connections.

In Devon she starts to look at Vivienne’s past and soon discovers that Vivienne did far more complicated and dangerous wartime work.  Vivienne seemed to have worked for SOE (Special Operations Executive).   Esme finds a apparent link to the death of the ex-soldier, Gerald Gallimore, that Tim had been investigating before his death.  As the story builds up Esme finds these two deaths are definitely linked.  The WW2 activities of SOE and the defences set up in GB against a German invasion become relevant in a fascinating story.  Modern events combine with dangerous memories in a toxic mix.
Reviewer: Jennifer S. Palmer
This is the third story about Esme - the first is Blood-Tied
Wendy Percival was born in the West Midlands and grew up in rural Worcestershire. After training as a primary school teacher, she moved to North Devon to take up her first teaching post and remained in teaching for 20 years. An impulse buy of Writing Magazine prompting her to start writing seriously. She won the magazine's 2002 Summer Ghost Story Competition and had a short story published before focusing on full length fiction. The time honoured ‘box of old documents’ in the attic stirred her interest in genealogy. When she began researching her Shropshire roots she realised how little most of us know about our family history.  This became the inspiration behind the first Esme Quentin novel, Blood-Tied.  Wendy continues to be intrigued by genealogy, its mysteries and family secrets and writes about this in her family history blog.

Jennifer Palmer Throughout my reading life crime fiction has been a constant interest; I really enjoyed my 15 years as an expatriate in the Far East, the Netherlands & the USA but occasionally the solace of closing my door to the outside world and sitting reading was highly therapeutic. I now lecture to adults on historical topics including Famous Historical Mysteries.

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