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Wednesday, 23 May 2018
‘The Murder Tree’ by Alan Veale
New Yorker Chrissie Fersen, who only a few months previously was pregnant and in love, has now travelled to Glasgow in Scotland with her brother Edward for a break, following a traumatic time. When Edward is called into work, Chrissie continues her sightseeing alone and wonders into a neighbourhood of elegant three storey houses. Staring at the buildings she experiences a feeling of familiarity. Then in a basement window she sees what can only be a woman being murdered. Running to escape the sight and sounds that surely must be in her head she finds herself in front of a library. She starts by researching murders in Sauchiehall Street going back 50 years.
In the library she meets Billie Vane who helps her by producing back copies of the Glasgow Herald. Eventually Chrissie tracks the murder back to 1862, and the death of a servant girl. But what has a murder more than a hundred years ago got to do with her? How can she recognise a house in Glasgow when she has never visited Glasgow before? These two unlikely people seek the truth to the murder. But as they investigate to find the truth they put themselves in danger. Could the events of the past have tentacles linking to the current day?
This intriguing and absorbing this mystery contains a fey element that captivated this reader’s attention. Well-written with good characterisation this fascinating mystery will keep you turning the pages. Highly recommended.
Reviewer: Lizzie Hayes
Alan Veale was born in 1952 in Manchester. He spent most of his formative years (from age 20 to 60) as a thespian and/or working in the civil service. As a teenager he discovered the joy of creative writing and applied his energies in that direction mainly to theatre scripts. His first novel The Murder Tree was published in October 2013, and he has just released a more personal story about his parents’ experience of emigrating in 1949 (A Kangaroo in My Sideboard). Written in his mother’s words and based on original letters she wrote during her adventure, it is a heart-warming tale of ambition versus adversity in a pre-internet world.