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Sunday 9 February 2020

‘Our Little Secrets’ by Peter Richie

Published by Black & White Publishing,
27 June 2019.
ISBN: 987 1 78530 241 22 (PB)

Set in the tough underbelly of Edinburgh, this is a gritty gangland thriller that doesn’t pull any punches. DI Janet Hadden hasn’t made the fast track progress to which she feels entitled. Determined to claw her way to the top, she’s prepared to break the rules. If she can manipulate crime boss Dominic Granger into becoming a police informer and get him to grass up his two younger half-brothers, her career will be set to rise.

Dominic has his own problems including an addiction to gambling, high-class prostitutes and staying ahead of his brothers especially Paul who is angling for the top job. Dominic also has a toxic marriage. His wife Jude is the daughter of gangster boss Arthur Hamilton who has never approved of his son-in-law. Hamilton would like nothing better than to present his estranged daughter, the only thing he truly loves, with a reason to divorce Dominic. To that end, he hires a private detective to find the evidence.

Just as DI Janet Hadden thinks she has everything under control, things begin to fall apart. When Jude Granger is found murdered, she realises that she has been played by Dominic.

This is the fifth in Detective Grace Macallan series by retired senior police officer Peter Richie. However, the police play only a minor role in the novel and, apart from corrupt cop DI Janet Hadden, only appear after the murder of Jude Granger. Grace herself doesn’t come onto the scene until the last quarter of the book. Interestingly, although the police work out exactly what has gone on, they are not responsible for bringing this bevy of bad guys to justice though all meet their just rewards.

Not for the faint hearted, this gruesome thriller is full of twists and turns that make addictive reading. Told from multiple viewpoints, Richie has the ability to create downright evil characters who nonetheless intrigue and fascinate the reader. Not my usual type of reading but I will certainly read more from this writer.      
Reviewer: Judith Cranswick

Peter Ritchie followed his forefathers and started his working life at 15 as a deep-sea fisherman. He eventually joined the police service moving through the ranks of CID/Murder Squad/Regional Crime Squad in Scotland. He then went on to manage the Organised Crime Unit in the National Criminal Intelligence Service in London where he ran a multi-agency team drawn from various branches of the law enforcement and the security services. This was a unique concept at the time and Peter travelled to many parts of the world in this role. He was subsequently appointed as the UK Liaison Officer to Europol in The Hague where he spent five years. He returned to Lothian and Borders heading the Major Crime Team before taking on an advisory role for a project in Croatia. Following his retiral he worked on a number of private investigations before spending the next few years as part of the public inquiry team looking into the murder of the LVF leader Billy Wright in the Maze Prison.

Judith 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.

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