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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Victorina Press, 15 June 2018. ISBN: 978-0-9957547-5-1(PB)
A cripple and a fluffy aristo – that is how 1920s Major Alasdair
Charters and his wife Melissa present themselves. Of course, they're nothing of
the sort, but it's a good disguise. Alasdair was blinded during the war, and
unlike many of her contemporaries who walked away from damaged partners, plucky
Melissa refused to give up on him despite his mood swings and lack of self-belief.
And now, thrown into the middle of a murder investigation at a weekend country
house party, Alasdair is starting to find a new role in life as a
crime-fighter, with Melissa's willing support.
The party is at the home of
Melissa's uncle, Brigadier Ferguson; he has an agenda of his own, but his plans
are hurled into chaos when mousy Cousin Emma is brutally done to death in the
small hours. One of the guests is Sir Simon Maundeville, Alasdair's wartime
boss in the Secret Intelligence Service, and he immediately co-opts the couple
to help him solve the case before Special Branch move in. The situation is
further complicated by Maundeville's real reason for being at the party – to
identify and capture a spy.
Blind Witness is Vicki Goldie's debut novel, and it's plain that
she's done her homework on the subject of country house murders in the Golden
Age. The rambling old house is so vividly realised that it almost becomes
another character: chintz furnishings, each room colour-coded, plenty of open
The characters themselves are
classics: a mixture of poor relations and acquaintances, including a vicar with
hidden depths, a feisty cousin who drove ambulances during the war, a
flamboyant French countess, a distinctly unsavoury banker, and several more in
various degrees of shadiness.
With Melissa on hand to act
as his eyes, Alasdair is tasked with applying his keen intellect and wartime
training to digging into the lives of all the guests, making good use of his
blindness and people's disparaging reaction to it as a cover. Melissa, not
content with her support role, does some investigating of her own and unearths
some useful clues.
Soon the plot is thickening
up nicely; is the murder a family matter, or is espionage at the root of it? No
more clues from me; you'll have to read it to find out! It all adds up to a
jolly good Golden Age romp: perhaps the first of many adventures for Alasdair
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick
Vicki Goldieworked as a Chartered Librarian for the Royal National
Institute of Blind People and then for the past 19 years in public libraries in
Bournemouth and Poole. Born in California but brought up in England she was
introduced to the Golden Age of crime authors at an early age by her mother.
She is married to a blind physiotherapist, and it is from his mother, born in a
large country house in Devon (now a hotel), educated by governess and with a
cut glass voice like the Queen, that she absorbed real life stories about the
twenties and thirties.She has always
had a fascination with the Art Deco period and the Golden Age of crime writing.
She has been filling her house with Art Deco inspired artefacts and clothing
for 40 years.Blind Witness is her debut novel and is the beginning of a series
featuring Alasdair and Melissa Charters.
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.