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Saturday, 16 November 2019

‘Punish the Guilty’ by Barbara Fagan Speake

Published by Country Books 
ISBN 978-1-910489-72-7 (PB)

Annie McPherson is a Scottish detective who is on an exchange to work on a force in Westport Connecticut.  She is now in her seventh adventure and is so fully embedded in the US police in Connecticut that she now carries a firearm and has become engaged to another police officer Dave Ellison.  She is, however, pulled back to Scotland for a family event at one point during this tale.

Annie and Dave are the lead detectives in two US cases.  The first case is a single murder - a man stabbed, and his body left in an insalubrious alleyway.  A while later, in a second case, another person is murdered this time a woman whose body is found in her bedroom.  Investigations may or may not show a connection.   A friend of Annie and Dave who they met during a previous case, is Ellie Harrington.   She has recently left college and achieved the status of a real job as a junior newspaper reporter and, as a consequence of that she is asked to help as ghost writer of a book investigating a ten-year-old case.    Ellie is living with Detective Tom Kessler who has been seconded to the Westport team.  Her investigation is an interesting one which eventually seems to be connected to an old police case.

The work of a detective unit is beautifully shown with all the detailed interactions of the team and the technical experts.   Revelations gradually lead up to a climax.  This is a well-planned and satisfying story with interesting characters in whose lives the reader feels involved.
Reviewer: Jennifer S. Palmer 
Barbara has written a series about Annie beginning with Primed by the Past and a stand-alone novel and book of short stories.

Barbara Fagan Speake was born and brought up in Connecticut. She has written 3 crime novels so far.  The first, Secrets Only Sleep, is a standalone mystery.  The second is this book and the third, Programmed to Kill, develops Annie’s adventures in the USA further.  

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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