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 Matador, 10 September. 2019. ISBN: 978-1-83859057-4 (PB)
is light-hearted, fun read that has the reader smiling if not laughing out loud
from the start. In the same vein as Janet Evanovich’s madcap Stephanie Plumb, Ann
Granger’s Fran Varady and a much younger version of MC Beaton’s Agatha Raison,
Clarry Pennhaligan has the habit of getting herself into some perilous
Pennhaligan has earned herself a reputation as an amateur detective. She is
hired by the formidable Diana Maitland to investigate her daughter’s new
friends. Mrs Maitland is concerned that they are have a bad effect on the
impressionable Vanessa who has become very secretive. The group of women she is
now associating with appear to belong to an alternative religious cult
interested in folklore and paganism. Finding it hard to pay her bills, Clarry
reluctantly agrees to take on the case.
proposes that Clarry attends an anniversary party that she is hosting posing as
a friend of her eldest daughter and use the opportunity to meet and befriend
Vanessa. The introduction doesn’t go to well and only when Clarry discovers
Vanessa trying to escape the party and helps her evade her mother’s clutches do
they form a tentative bond. This eventually leads to Clarry attending a meeting
of the ‘Women’s Group.’ Before long, it becomes obvious that there is something
more sinister going on than just a collection of modern New Age hippies
worshipping the goddess. All the women are being encouraged to contribute
generously to the building of a Wellbeing Centre.
Learning that Vanessa is
about to come into a considerable legacy, Clarry’s suspicions are roused.She sets about trying
to discover more about the group’s members, especially Sarah, who manages the
group’s not inconsiderable finances. Aided by her elderly aunt Fran, Clarry
breaks into Sarah’s shop late at night and the two barely escape by climbing
over the rooftops.
There is nothing
two-dimensional about the characters. In addition to Clarry herself and the
plucky go-getting elderly Fran, I particularly like her mates in the restaurant
where she works as a waitress. The rugby club evening is something I will
remember for some time and it’s on that occasion she meets Ed who I’m sure will
feature in the next book in this series.
I thoroughly enjoyed
this book and have no reservations recommending it to readers who are looking
for an easy read with wit and humour mixed with excitement and intrigue.
creator of the of the Clarry Pennhaligan mysteries, also write a series, The
Fortunes of Sally Forth, featuring a woman who has swapped London Living for
Country Loving - something she has recently done herself. Her play, The Gift,
premiered at The White Bear Theatre, London. She also won ITV's This Morning's
national short story award.
Cranswick was born
and brought up in Norwich. She wrote her first novel (now languishing in the
back of a drawer somewhere) when her two children were toddlers, but there was
little time for writing when she returned to work teaching Geography in a large
comprehensive. It was only after leaving her headship that she was able to take
up writing again in earnest. Judith teaches Tai Chi, and line dancing, yoga,
Pilates and Zumba. Her other hobbies include reading and travelling. She is
lucky enough to be a cruise lecturer. You can read some of her adventures – the
Ups and Downs of Being a Cruise Lecturer on her September 2014 blog on her home
page. Judith’s latest book is Blood
Flows South to read a review click on the title