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Monday, 11 November 2019

‘The Woman on the Cliff’ by Janice Frost

Published by Joffe Books,
5 June 2019.
 ISBN: 978-1-78931131-0 (PB)

In 1988 Ros, Elspeth, Moira, Lucy and Shona were all at university in St Andrews, Scotland, and shared a house in North Street. One day the police knock on the door to tell them that Moira Mackie has been murdered, her body found on the clifftop. DI John Menzies and PC Innes Nevin were the investigating officers but the girls were never completely honest with them about their housemate. However, the mystery of Moira’s death was quickly resolved when one of the men she was dating committed suicide, leaving a note saying that he had killed Moira. 

Thirty years on, Ros’s daughter takes up a place at the same university and as a result Ros bumps into Innes Nevin again. Innes has now retired from the police force but has recently come across some information that raises questions about his former DI and the case of Moira Mackie. He enlists Ros’s help in raking up the past to try and make sense of what he has learned and, with nothing to keep her from returning home to London, Ros stays on to help. Looking back at the case with hindsight and the distance of time, they begin to view events differently and realise that there was more going on than they could have imagined.

This is a more gentle murder mystery and romance rather than a thriller. The characters are warm and likeable as it explores the idea of the long-term impact murder can have on those left behind. The story switches back and forth between the present and past as Ros and Innes dig into the events of the late 1980s. Chapters in the present are written in the present tense with scenes from the past in the past tense which makes it very easy to follow. An entertaining read.
Reviewer Christine Hammacott 

Janice Frost is the author of two crime/mystery books featuring Detectives Jim Neal and Ava Merry. Dead Secret and Dark Secret are set in the imaginary East Midlands city of Stromford. Dead Secret sees Jim and Ava pairing up to investigate the murder of a teenage girl. It is their first major case together and the two soon discover that they have very different personalities. Neal is intellectual and considered, Ava clever and occasionally reckless. Both are passionate about the job they do but have to work hard at being an effective team.

Christine Hammacott lives near Southampton and runs her own design consultancy. She started her career working in publishing as a book designer and now creates covers for indie-authors. She writes page-turning fiction that deals with the psychological effects of crime. Her debut novel The Taste of Ash was published in 2015.

 To read a review of A Taste of Ash Click on the title
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