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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Published by Head of Zeus, 4 April 2019. ISBN 978-1-78954184-7
is the first book of a trilogy set in downtown Manchester. Over three
periods, 1973/4,1979/80 and 1983/4, we are given a graphic account of the slow
deterioration of the lives of two siblings, Adele and Peter, starting when
Peter was ten and Adele a year or so older. With an alcoholic and violent
father, Tommy, who resents his children’s existence, and a docile, increasing
depressed mother, Shirley, the children have a very uncomfortable home life.
Shirley becomes increasing dependent on pills and makes little effort to clean
the house or feed her family as she not only accepts, but also defends, the
constant physical and verbal abuse handed down from her husband.
Adele is a
clever child. She helps her mother as much as she can whilst simultaneously
trying to keep up with the schoolwork that she believes will eventually provide
her with the means to escape from her horrible life. She also tries to
protect Peter who at the age of ten is already showing signs of becoming a
sadistic tear-away. There is, not surprisingly, a strong survival bond between
the brother and sister as they look out for and lie for each other. The
only bright point in their lives is Grandma Joyce, Shirley’s mother. She
sees what is happening, but other than providing a little love, kind words and
occasional small treats for the children, there is little she can do to relieve
their misery. When she becomes ill, even that solace is removed.
teenager Peter indulges in petty crimes. After he does a spell in a young offender’s
unit his father throws Peter out. He gradually becomes a hardened and
fully-fledged criminal, running his own gang and earning a good living from
serious and sometimes violent crime. Adele’s A-level grades are not good
enough to get into university, but she joins a solicitor’s office, carries on
with her education and sets up house with a partner. Now and then we see
that Adele has inherited her father’s temper, but for the most part she
continues to improve her lot and support her mother. With very different
lifestyles the brother and sister drift apart.
something happens that turns all their lives upside down and brings Adele and
Peter together again, but you would need to read the book to discover what that
is well written and is delightfully easy to read. The descriptions
of places and people are grimly realistic, and not always as depressing as the
story might lead you to think. I found the book unusual in that its main
purpose seemed to be to provide background and to develop the characters for
the next two parts of the story which I haven’t read. However, if you read part
one of this trilogy, such is the strength of Heather Burnside’s characters, I
think it is more than likely that you will be drawn into reading parts two and
three of the trilogy to see what becomes of Adele and Peter in the next decade
of their lives.
Heather Burnsidehas been writing since the late 90s
when she returned to work following a career break to raise a family. Heather
formerly worked in credit control and became a graduate Member of the Institute
of Credit Management, but she decided on a complete career change.After enrolling with the Writers Bureau in
Manchester, she gained a writing diploma and had articles published in several
popular UK magazines. Heather then set up a writing services company, providing
copywriting and proofreading to a range of clients, and ghostwriting a number
of non-fiction books.
Angela Crowtheris a
retired scientist. She has published many scientific papers but, as yet,
no crime fiction. In her spare time Angela belongs to a Handbell Ringing
group, goes country dancing and enjoys listening to music, particularly the
operas of Verdi and Wagner.