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Wednesday 8 May 2019

‘Death Comes to Call’ by Clare Chase

Published by Bookouture,
19 February 2019.
ISBN: 978-1-78681-812-6(PB)

In this new Cambridge-set story by Clare Chase featuring Tara Thorpe, formerly a journalist with the local scandal rag Not Now and now a novice Detective Constable with the Cambridgeshire police, Tara is investigating the disappearance of the artist Luke Cope. There are no reasons to think there was anything suspicious about his disappearance which, as Luke was an adult, had only been investigated cursorily, but his brother Matthew is insistent that the police inquiries were inadequate and is angry that only someone as junior as Tara is following the matter up. And Tara is not altogether convinced that the matter is as simple as it appears to be: Luke’s paintings are shocking and disturbing, particularly one showing a woman being strangled, a woman whom Matthew says is Freya Cross, a married woman with whom Luke was possibly having an affair.

Then Freya’s body is discovered in a nature reserve; she has been strangled. Luke seems to be the most likely suspect but there are others, particularly Freya’s husband Professor Zachary Cross who tells Tara that his wife was going to stay with a friend in London which turns out not to be true. And there is Jonny Trent who runs the art gallery where Freya had been working and who gives the impression that he knows more than he is saying. And a further complication for Tara is that her former boss, Detective Sergeant Patrick Wilkins, now, thanks to Tara, suspended from the police for giving information to Not Now in a previous investigation, wants to get his own back. So he tells the editor of Not Now, Giles Troy, and journalist Shona Kennedy that Tara and Detective Inspector Garstin Blake are a lot closer than they should be. And there is something in that – Tara and Garstin are attracted to each other but Garstin has a problematic marriage to deal with, further complicated by not only by the fact that he adores their daughter Kitty but that his wife Babette is pregnant.

Altogether this is a highly complex suspenseful and emotional story, depicted in a fast-moving narrative in the depths of a powerfully evoked Cambridgeshire winter. Recommended.
Reviewer: Radmila May

Clare Chase writes fast-paced romantic mysteries, using London and Cambridge as settings. Her influences include JD Robb, Janet Evanovich, Mary Stewart and Sue Grafton. Brought up in the Midlands, she went on to read English at London University, then worked in book and author promotion in venues as diverse as schools, pubs and prisons. More recently she’s exercised her creative writing muscles in the world of PR and worked for the University of Cambridge. Her current day job is at the Royal Society of Chemistry. Her writing is inspired by what makes people tick, and how strong emotions can occasionally turn everyday incidents into the stuff of crime novels. It would be impossible not to mix these topics with romance and relationships; they’re central to life and drive all forms of drama. When she’s not reading or writing, Clare enjoys drawing, cooking and trips to the Lake District. Closer to home she loves wandering round the pubs, restaurants and galleries of Cambridge where she lives with her husband and two teenage daughters.

Radmila May was born in the U.S. but has lived in the U.K. since she was seven apart from seven years in The Hague. She read law at university but did not go into practice. Instead she worked for many years for a firm of law publishers and still does occasional work for them including taking part in a substantial revision and updating of her late husband’s legal practitioners’ work on Criminal Evidence published late 2015. She has also contributed short stories with a distinctly criminal flavour to two of the Oxford Stories anthologies published by Oxpens Press – a third story is to be published shortly in another Oxford Stories anthology – and is now concentrating on her own writing.

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