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Wednesday 20 June 2018

‘Some Particular Evil’ by Vera Morris

Published by Accent Press,
21 October 2017.
ISBN: 978-1-78615-061-5 (PB)

Some Particular Evil is a sort-of police procedural firmly rooted in those far-off 1970s with all that that implies, and Vera Morris makes an excellent job of bringing the period to life. Mobile phones were the stuff of science fiction; DNA testing hadn't been thought of. Sexism was rampant, and anything resembling the right kind of political correctness was a distant dream for the strong, capable women who inhabit Morris's Suffolk landscape. There are passing references to plane hi-jackings, a Tory Party conference in Brighton (though not the infamous one), and plodding, opinionated senior policemen (women had yet to rise that far) with a talent for ignoring the obvious.

When the wife of the headmaster of a small private school is murdered, everyone on the staff becomes a suspect and sparky young DI Frank Diamond is tasked with tracking down the killer. Something of a maverick, with a nose for the truth rather than a convenient solution, Frank has been to university – far rarer and worthier of comment than is the case nowadays. He even treats Laurel Bowman, the school's bright and feisty new senior mistress, as an equal, which is more than any other man on the staff does.

Frank soon discovers how unpopular the victim was, and why. The entire staff seem to be harbouring secrets, and only Laurel is above suspicion – and even she has a past she prefers to keep under wraps.

All the characters, even the dead ones, are colourfully drawn, from Miss Piff the unassuming school secretary who turns out to have a core of steel as well as a heart of gold, to stolid Sergeant Elderkin, who reveals not only hidden depths but also a romantic streak.

The school, too, comes to life – shabby and frayed at the edges, located perilously close to the crumbling Suffolk coast. The author is clearly well acquainted with the area's changeable weather and ever-shifting sands and shingle.

Laurel Bowman and Frank Diamond make a fine team, ably supported by several other characters who could well continue beyond the not entirely unexpected ending. It all augurs well for a series which, even in the absence of the technology and forensic expertise we now take for granted, could run for some time. I sincerely hope it does.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick

Vera Morris blew soap bubbles in Woolworth's, cooked in hotels and electro-fished in Welsh rivers, before becoming a teacher.  Most of her teaching career was in a local mixed comprehensive in South Oxfordshire, where she became Headteacher. Her interests include writing, gardening, cooking, reading, the theatre, museums and art galleries, and travelling in her campervan.
Lynne Patrick has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen, and has enjoyed success with short stories, reviews and feature journalism, but never, alas, with a novel. She crossed to the dark side to become a publisher for a few years, and is proud to have launched several careers which are now burgeoning. She lives on the edge of rural Derbyshire in a house groaning with books, about half of them crime fiction. 

 Now available the second in the series
            The Temptation

Where is David Pemberton?
Two years ago, thirteen-year-old David Pemberton vanished without a trace. It's up to detectives Laurel Bowman and Frank Diamond to find him. But how do you solve a case without a lead?
When three local residents meet brutal deaths, something more sinister certainly seems to be at heart. And now, it's not just David they should be worried about. As they're drawn into a circle of temptation, destruction and deceit, they find themselves close to cracking the case. But the closer they get, the more vulnerable they become and soon their lives are at risk…

Published by Accent Press Ltd 17 May 2018

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