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Monday 12 March 2018

‘Murder Lies Waiting’ by Alanna Knight

Published by Allison and Busby,
18 January 2018.
ISBN: 978-0-7490-2209-9

Rose McQuinn’s job as a private investigator clashes with her family commitments when the necessity of her testifying on a client’s behalf in a court in Glasgow coincides with the dates of her husband, Chief Inspector Jack Macmerry’s holiday. Jack had planned to take Rose, their daughter, Meg, and their deerhound, Thane, to visit his parents in the wild Border Country, in order to celebrate the elderly couple’s Golden Wedding anniversary but now Rose will remain at home. Their housekeeper, Sadie Brook, is also going on holiday but Rose is happy to stay alone at their home, Solomon’s Tower, and get on with numerous domestic tasks. She is painfully aware that her parents-in-law are accompanying Jack and Meg back to Edinburgh for a visit and Rose’s mother-in-law has a sharp and critical eye for housekeeping failures. One of Jack’s concerns is that Rose is still suffering from the after-effects of a bad cold and he thinks she needs cosseting. When Sadie invites Rose to join her at a hotel on Bute, the island where she grew up, Rose is tempted by the thought of seven days of idleness and luxury and agrees.

However, when they reach Bute, Sadie reveals the true reason for her invitation. Twenty years ago, Bute had its only murder trial, when sixteen-year-old Sarah Vantry, a poor relation of the aristocratic Vantry family, was accused of pushing the son and heir of the family down the stairs, causing his death. The verdict was ‘not proven,’ which had the cruel after effect of making most people believe she was guilty but had got away with it. Sadie was that young girl, Sarah Vantry, and, while she remains in the background, in the hope that nobody will recognise her, she wishes Rose to prove her innocence.

Rose’s first instinct is to refuse, believing it is impossible in seven days to solve a crime that has lain dormant for twenty years. However, her detective’s instinct kicks in, as well as her desire to help Sadie, and she starts to investigate. The more she probes the current Vantry family, the more suspicious of them she becomes. Unfortunately, she also reveals several contradictory stories told by Sadie and realises that she cannot trust or believe the woman she regards as a friend. More deaths follow and, as Rose gets nearer to the truth, her own life is in danger.

Murder Lies Waiting is the ninth in the series featuring Rose McQuinn but it is a standalone story. Rose is a delightful heroine, courageous, intelligent, embracing the new 20th Century and the fight for equality for women, and she is clear-sighted regarding her own failings as well as those of others. The characterisation is excellent, and the story-line is engaging. Even though he appears in this book only by report, the great deerhound, Thane, is still at the spiritual heart of the story, his extraordinary powers surrounding and protecting Rose.
Murder Lies Waiting is an excellent read. Definitely recommended.
Reviewer: Carol Westron

Alanna Knight is one of the most popular authors in UK libraries. Named as one of The Times’ “100 Masters of Crime”, she is a leading crime writer with three historical crime series: the Victorian detective Inspector Jeremy Faro, lady investigator Rose McQuinn, and time-traveller Tam Eildor. She has published 75 works which include romance, thrillers, historical novels and non-fiction. Alanna is an authority on Robert Louis Stevenson and she has written true crime, 'how to write' guides and biographies.
Hon President of Edinburgh Writers' Club, Honorary President and founder member of Scottish Association of Writers, member of Society of Authors and Crime Writers' Association, and Mystery People.  She appears regularly at Edinburgh International Book Festival and many other literary events.

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. Carol recently gave an interview to Mystery People. To read the interview click on the link below.

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