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 Silverwood
Books 11 November 2019. ISBN: 978-1-78132-938-2 (PB)
The community of Barbury, the Wiltshire market town,
is deeply shocked when the body of popular local businesswoman Holly Macleod is
found by a young girl in squalid public toilets near a pub on the town’s
outskirts. Examination of the body establishes first of all that she was beaten
about the head, and then strangled, and there is also semen on her
underclothes. More shocked than anyone else is Holly’s partner Meg Spry in the
employment agency that she and Holly ran together along with their assistant
Sarah as well as a charity, Second Time Trust (STT), which funds training for
women who are going back into work but do not have the requisite skills.
Jeff Lincoln is the officer investigating the crime along with his detective
colleagues Sergeant Mike Woods, Constables Pam Smyth, Dennis Breeze and Graham
Dilke. Right from the beginning of the investigation there are a number of
puzzles: where is Holly’s handbag? The motive was plainly not robbery, but then
what was it? Her car, an elderly Volvo, has disappeared so where is it? And the
car found abandoned near the toilets belongs to a London businessman, Leo
Goldsmith; does he have a connection? Holly has always denied having married
before she met her husband, second-hand bookseller Bruce Macleod or have had
children, but on her stomach are the scars of a C-section; how come? And why
does Macleod show no interest in how Holly died or whether there had been a
sexual assault? Meg uncovers apparent fraudulent activity in the activities of
STT: is it some sort of money-laundering exercise? Who is Samuel Faraday? Was
there something going on between Holly and her accountant, Jack Avery, who seems
to be more upset about Holly’s death than her husband? Meantime Lincoln has to
cope with his own emotional problems: his wife left him several years ago for a
lecturer at a local college, Andy Nightingale, and then died. But Nightingale
has also been affected by the fraudulent activities in STT. And just how does
Macleod’s research into the deceased artist Withold Bartmann and his partner
Inigo Jay, names given to Lincoln by the attractive librarian Trish
Whittingham, fit in? And behind everything in the Barbury hinterland is the
dubious businessman Doubleday and the plans of him and others to redevelop some
waste land near Barbury.
All this and many
other ramifications contrived to make this story engage me until I reached the
end. Another aspect which intrigued me is the setting. Barbury itself seems to
be fictitious but presumably it is in the environs of the real-life Barbury
Racecourse and the prehistoric Iron Age hillfort, Barbury Castle near the
ancient Ridgeway trackway, one of a series of such forts which offer
spectacular views across the countryside below. I wonder if it is. Recommended.
was born in Somerset and raised in the West Midlands and Wiltshire, Nikki
Copleston worked in local government in London for many years. Her grandfather
and great-grandfather were policemen, which may explain why she's always
enjoyed watching detective series on television and reading crime novels. She
is an active member of Frome Writers' Collective, which supports and promotes
writers in the Frome area. When she isn't writing, she enjoys exploring the
West Country with her camera. She is already working on the next DI Jeff
Lincoln novel. She and her husband now live in Wells, Somerset, with their cat.
born in the U.S. but has lived in the U.K. since she was seven apart from seven
years in The Hague. She read law at university but did not go into practice.
Instead she worked for many years for a firm of law publishers and still does occasional
work for them including taking part in a substantial revision and updating of
her late husband’s legal practitioners’ work on Criminal Evidence published
late 2015. She has also contributed short stories with a distinctly criminal
flavour to two of the Oxford Stories anthologies published by Oxpens Press – a
third story is to be published shortly in another Oxford Stories anthology –
and is now concentrating on her own writing.