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 Joffe Books, 30 October 2019.
ISBN 978-1-78931-244-7 (PB)
Crimes is the eighth book in the Detective Superintendent Sophie Allen series. It is the first one I have read,
and despite a couple of references to some undisclosed mystery in DS Allen’s
past I had no difficulty following the current tale. DS Allen is married
and has a husband and two daughters. The elder daughter is away at
university. We never meet her or the husband. We do however meet the
younger daughter, Jade, who has just completed her A levels, and has only a few
days left before she leaves school.
has a strong social conscience, has been keeping an eye on a tramp and his dog
Algy. When she realizes that she hasn’t seen her adopted protégés in their
usual haunts for a while she gathers up some food and sets off to look for
them. She finds them in the local woods. Algy is badly injured and the tramp is
dead having been hit over the head with something hard. Her mother is
called in to handle the case, and is aided by DS Barry Marsh and DC Rae Gregson
who has an interesting background
name is Paul Prentice. He is in his mid- thirties and was formally a well-heeled
and well-educated chap with a senior judge for a father. More than a
decade previously Paul had abandoned his life as a merchant banker to become a
leading member of a commune in the Quantock Hills in Somerset. The
commune had been set up as a trust on farmland owned by Kate Templar who was
also a member of the commune.
detectives travel hither and thither and although they eventually find several
of the original members of the commune, none of them are willing to talk freely
about what went on all those years ago, or why the commune broke up. Tim
Brotherton the original leader of the group, Trent Baker who has just spent ten
years in prison for assaulting Catherine Templeton - another member of the
commune - and Andrew Atkins all seem to be hiding something. Alarm bells start
ringing when it looks as though Paul isn’t the only one of their number who
might have come to a sticky end. Kate Templar, Paul’s girlfriend, has
also disappeared. Enquiries revealed that although Kate was not involved
in making decisions about the daily running of the commune she had, contrary to
what those in charge may have believed, kept ultimate control over the
ownership of the land they used.
Crimes is an intriguing mystery with an interesting and
varied collection of characters. Amongst other things it makes you wonder why people
would choose to give up their comfortable lives to go and live in relative
poverty and hardship, only to spend their time squabbling with their comrades
once they get there, and then still feel so aggrieved about what went on that
they start killing each other years afterwards. The commune failed for many
reasons. Some of them are easier to guess than others: some we will never know.
I’m not going to spoil the plot by hinting at any more of them.
excellent feature of the story is that the dog Algy was adopted by Jade – not
sure her parents were consulted about that, but then Jade is a very sparky
young lady. When last heard of Algy had made a good recovery. In Silent
Crimes we were given a few tantalizing glimpses of Sophie Allen and her
family and friends. I would enjoy hearing more about them and how they interact
with one another, possibly from book nine in the series?
Michael Hambling is the author
of eight books featuring Detective Superintendent Sophie Allen. Michael lives in the West of England , and his books are set in thsi region.
Crowtheris a retired
scientist. She has published many scientific papers but, as yet, no crime
fiction. In her spare time Angela belongs to a Handbell Ringing group,
goes country dancing and enjoys listening to music, particularly the operas of Verdi