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.
New reviews are posted daily, but to search for earlier reviews please click on the Mystery People link below and select 'reviews' from the welcome page. This will display an alphabetic option for you to find the review you would like to read
For PREVIOUS REVIEWS- Click on MYSTERY PEOPLE below -
The Dome Press, 30 May 2019. ISBN: 978-1-91253418-0 (PB)
A new series with a protagonist who is a little different is always
something of a find – so imagine my delight when I found a series with two!
In Two Minds is the second book featuring 19th century
Teifi Valley coroner – or more accurately coroner-to-be – Harry Probert-Lloyd
and his sparky officer (also to be) John Davies. When the story opens Harry is
only acting coroner, and John a solicitor's clerk, but they both have
ambitions. Encroaching blindness has forced Harry to abandon a promising London
career as a barrister, but his keen mind is disinclined to settle for the
leisurely life of a country gentleman in rural Wales; John has pulled himself
up by the proverbial bootstraps from humble beginnings as a servant, and dreams
of a future as a solicitor in his own right, rather than a mere clerk.
Harry already has a
reputation for ferreting out the truth when other investigators are willing to
settle for the obvious and expedient. When a mutilated body is found on a
remote beach and the local coroner is indisposed, he willingly accepts the job
of uncovering what happened and co-opts John as his assistant, already making
himself unpopular in several quarters.
He finds he is fighting a
battle on several fronts. The magistrates want the mystery solved at minimal
cost. The police quickly find a suspect and are reluctant to look any further.
The working-class witnesses are unwilling to talk to a member of the crachach,
as the local gentry are known. And the directors of an emigration scheme with
which the dead man was involved are disinclined to do anything that threatens
their financial interests.
And as if that wasn't
enough... But no; I've given away enough of the plot. Suffice to say it gets
even more complicated.
Harry and John are two of the
most fascinating protagonists I've encountered in a while, and the other
characters leap off the page as well. To name just a few, there's Benton
Reckitt the anatomist who trades brilliance for social skills; Mrs Parry the
feisty innkeeper; Inspector Bellis the clodhopping policeman; Harry's outspoken
father; and not forgetting Lydia Howell, a young lady who knows her own mind.
It's all set against the kind
of beautiful west Wales backdrop which probably hasn't changed much in a
century and a half. It's dotted with bleak beaches, mistrustful villages, small
towns and estates like Glanteifi, Harry's home.I look forward to my next visit there, in the company of the Teifi
Valley coroner and his assistant.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick
Alis Hawkinswas born
in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire/Monmouthshire border. She grew up on a
dairy farm near Newcastle Emlyn – a small town on the
Cardiganshire/Carmarthenshire border. She attended the local, bilingual village
primary school, Cardigan County Comprehensive, and later Corpus Christi
College, Oxford and studied English Language and Literature. Alis is a Welsh
speaker and now lives in the Forest of Dean.
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.