As a founder member of Mystery Women in 1997, promoting Crime Fiction has always been my passion.
Following the closure of Mystery Women, a new group was formed on 30th January 2012 promoting crime fiction.
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Quercus, 7 March 2019. ISBN: 978-1-78648-373-7 (PB)
I think it was the babies that did it. There I was, book open on my
lap, tissue box beside me, floods of tears pouring down my face. And me a
hardened old hack; would you credit it?
It really isn't often that
any book provokes that level of emotion in me (apart from a few that make me
hurl them against the wall, of course), but The Last Thing She Told Me
really did reduce me to tears. There they were, this lovely family, embroiled
in a nightmare situation stretching back through three generations and still
wrecking lives and causing misery.
It starts at a deathbed,
which is sad enough, but that really is only the start. Nicola is with her
90-year-old grandmother when she dies, and the old lady's poignant last words
are, 'Look after my babies for me.'
And what a topical can of
worms is opened by those words. Nicola is convinced that her grandmother was
asking her to do something important, but her mother refuses to discuss it,
though she clearly knows more than she is willing to say. Going through her
gran's things in an attempt to throw some light on the mystery, Nicola thinks
she has identified a cousin she didn't know existed.
And then her own small
daughter finds a tiny bone buried in the garden.
The multi-layered plot of
this emotional story bears all the hallmarks of an author who knows exactly
what she's doing; letters and flashbacks interleaved with the main narrative
create tensions and misdirection’s, and we learn what's going on when Nicola
does, so there's plenty of suspense. The West Yorkshire setting, too, with its
down-to-earth inhabitants and small towns cheek by jowl with bleak countryside,
comes across loud and clear.
But it's the characters who
give it substance and bring it to life in a way few novelists achieve. By the
end I felt I knew the family at the centre of it all better than my own
neighbours. James, Nicola's husband, is the kind of partner most women dream
of, but even he isn't perfect. The children, eight-year-old Maisie and Ruby,
just turned thirteen, are instantly recognizable to anyone with daughters.
Irene, Nicola's mother is damaged by life and crippled by shame. And John, the
long-lost 'cousin' – well, you'll have to read it and find out for yourself.
I strongly recommend you do
exactly that. And if you're not rooting for the family by the time your halfway
through, and mopping tears away before the end, I'll be very surprised indeed.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick
Green was born in North London in
1970 and brought up in Hertfordshire At sixteen she embarked on 'A' levels and
a journalism course at De Havilland College, Hertfordshire. She joined her
local newspaper, the Enfield Gazette, as a trainee reporter at eighteen. During
a ten-year career in regional journalism She worked as a reporter on the
Birmingham Daily News, news editor on the Birmingham Metro News and Chief
Feature Writer on the Coventry Evening Telegraph, winning Highly Commended in
the Feature Writer of the Year category of the 1997 Press Gazette Regional
Press Awards. Although she loved working on regional newspapers by 1998 her
features were getting too long and the urge to write a novel had become too
great so she left her staff job to write her first novel and work as a
freelance journalist. She has written for The Guardian, The Independent on
Sunday, The Times Educational Supplement, The Big Issue, Wanderlust and
Community Care Magazine. She found the writing and working from home a very solitary
process so also worked as co-ordinator of the Birmingham Bureau of Children's
Express (a national charity which ran a learning through journalism programme
for young people) and taught journalism to schoolchildren for the National
Academy of Writing. After she moved north in 2001 she qualified as an adult
education tutor and taught creative writing classes to students aged between 18
and 82 for the Workers Educational Association across Calderdale, West
Yorkshire. After more than a hundred rejections from agents for her first novel
she finally got an agent but still
couldn't get a publisher. She started work on her second novel I Did A Bad Thing in 2003 and finally
obtained a two-book deal with Headline Review in 2006. Massive sigh of relief! After
six years with Headline She left to join Quercus in 2011. While My Eyes Were Closed was published in ebook in January 2016
and paperback in May 2016. The Last Thing She Told Me is her latest
book. Linda Green lives in a village
near Halifax, West Yorkshire. She is married to Ian Hodgson, a sports photographer
for a national newspaper.
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.