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Friday 7 June 2019

‘Head Wound’ by Judith Cutler

Published by Allison & Busby,
18 October 2018.
ISBN 978-0-7490-2330-0

Judith Cutler is a consummate storyteller.  I find myself compulsively turning the pages to find out about the imbroglio that is forming which won’t be explained until the end of the book.   The heroine, Jane Cowan, is the headteacher of two primary schools in Kent who is enormously busy but still finds time to help a neighbour stranded by the effects of a serious storm.  Jane is in a rented house while her own is being rebuilt and the storm has already increased her own problems.

Around the quiet village where she is currently living there is some unusual traffic which arouses some suspicions in Jane.  She is an indomitable lady who has experienced traumas in her earlier life and in Kent as described in two previous adventures.  The story develops apace and really deals with current police problems in an area like Kent which is so easily accessible from the Continent.  

Eventually the conclusion is reached and Jane’s qualms about sounds like foxes screaming in the night are justified.  This is an exciting, if grim, tale, well told.  If you enjoy the character of Jane, you might prefer to read the three books in order - though this book can be read on its own the depth of characterisation of Jane and other characters is developed through the series. 

Head Start and Head Count are the preceding books.
Reviewer: Jennifer S. Palmer
Judith Cutler has written many crime fiction series - some about the police and others featuring different protagonists such as a pub owner and a College lecturer.  
Judith Cutler was born in the Black Country, just outside Birmingham, later moving to the Birmingham suburb of Harborne. Judith started writing while she was at the then Oldbury Grammar School, winning the Critical Quarterly Short Story prize with the second story she wrote. She subsequently read English at university. It was an attack of chickenpox caught from her son that kick-started her writing career. One way of dealing with the itch was to hold a pencil in one hand, a block of paper in the other - and so she wrote her first novel. This eventually appeared in a much revised version as Coming Alive, published by Severn House. Judith has seven series. The first two featured amateur sleuth Sophie Rivers (10 books) and Detective Sergeant Kate Power (6 Books). Then came Josie Wells, a middle-aged woman with a quick tongue, and a love of good food, there are two books, The Food Detective and The Chinese Takeout. The Lina Townsend books are set in the world of antiques and there are five books in this series. There are two books featuring Tobias Campion set in the Regency period, and her series featuring Chief Superintendent Fran Harman (6 books), and Jodie Welsh, Rector’s wife and amateur sleuth. Her most recent series features a head teacher. The first book is Head Start. Judith has also written two standalone’s Scar Tissue and Staging Death.

Jennifer Palmer Throughout my reading life crime fiction has been a constant interest; I really enjoyed my 15 years as an expatriate in the Far East, the Netherlands & the USA but occasionally the solace of closing my door to the outside world and sitting reading was highly therapeutic. I now lecture to adults on historical topics including Famous Historical Mysteries.

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