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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Little Brown, 6 February 2020. ISBN: 978-1-47212999-4 (PB)
The book opens in Somerset at the
Meat Hook Gallery, which is premiering a new exhibition by Kristal Havfruen, an
artist whose early career could best be summed up by the word ‘infamous.’
Kristal is a Narcissist and, ever since she was a student at Falmouth School of
Art, over twenty years previously, she has made herself the centre of her art.
Kristal is featured in every aspect of this exhibition of ‘KRISTAL HAVFRUEN – A
LIFE’, always dressed in the short, white lace dress and red Dr Marten boots
that had been her trademark ever since she was a teenage art student. The
exhibition is showing film of her student work ‘Preconception’ in which she has
sex with her boyfriend, and, nine months later, film of her giving birth. Kristal
declared that her unfortunate son should be called Art and that everything he
was or did was art and her creation. Overwhelmed all his life by his mother’s
monstrous ego, it is not surprising that Art Havfruen is a volatile young man,
addicted to cocaine mixed with a low dose of ketamine.
career has been on the wane for many years, and critics have described her work
as shallow and derivative, but this exhibition is well attended. Amongst the
guests are Marlene Moss, Kristal’s old teacher at art college; Callum Oak,
Kristal’s one-time boyfriend and now her husband, a talented artist in his own
right, although his talent has been overshadowed by Kristal’s flamboyant
demands for attention; Oliver Sweetman who had once been a rival for Kristal’s
favours but, after an accident changed his personality has become Kristal’s
assistant and photographer. Also present is Art Havfruen, now a successful
advertising executive but still on display as one of his mother’s works of art.
Although her image is visible everywhere, Kristal herself is not on display
until the guests reach the final gallery where there is a large, sealed tank.
On the tank rests a pair of red Dr. Marten boots and inside it floats a model
of Kristen. The spectators find it somewhat disturbing that, unlike any other
of Kristal’s depictions of herself, the model is precisely life-size and shows
all the imperfections of a woman of forty-three. Suddenly Kristal’s husband
realises that it is not a model in the tank of formaldehyde, but Kristal
Inspector Shanti Joyce is the officer in charge of the investigation into the
murder of Kristal Havfruen. Shanti has just moved to the West Country police
force from London. She had been a high-flying detective until inattention to record
keeping, due to her preoccupation with a vicious divorce, had caused her to
make an error which resulted in a major criminal walking away from court free.
Now Shanti is trying to rebuild her career while caring, with the help of her
mother, for her young son, Paul. She is fortunate that one of her new
colleagues is on her side, and it is Sergeant Bennett who suggests she might
benefit from help from her predecessor, D.I. Vince Caine, who has been on
has heard that Caine is eccentric and many of loud-mouthed, hard-drinking cops
call him Veggie Cop but Bennett tells her that Caine is the best detective he
has ever known. Shanti tracks Caine down to his remote cabin in Lyme Regis and,
although at first she is uncertain about the man known as the Mindful
Detective, she soon realises that he has people skills and insight that
coalesces well with her more conventional approach. The most obvious suspects
are the victim’s husband, Callum Oak, her assistant, Oliver Sweetman, or her
son, Art, all of whom have good reason to wish her harm. Kristal was drugged
with ketamine, which implicates Art, but Shanti cannot find enough evidence to
charge any of them. She can only hope that Caine will help her discover and
prove the truth before her career suffers even greater damage.
of the joys of reviewing is that sometimes you discover a book that you love
and might not otherwise have read and in Art of Death I felt that I’d
struck gold. The characters are fully rounded and beautifully described and
both Shanti and Caine are appealing protagonists. I especially admired the
skilful parallels between Kristal and Shanti, they are two ambitious women, but
Kristal used and abused her child, while Shanti would do anything within her
power to keep her son unharmed. The plot is cleverly crafted and compelling,
and the art-world background drawn with biting wit and candour. Art of Death
is the first in the Mindful Detective series and I am already looking forward
to the next one. As I read this book in one day, I can truthfully describe it
as a page-turner, and one that I wholeheartedly recommend.
was born in 1959 into an Anglo Dutch family with Persian roots, Anholt spent
his early years in Holland where he developed a lasting love of Art. He went on
to study Painting for 8 years, culminating in a Masters Degree from the Royal
Academy of Art in London. In a career spanning three decades, Laurence Anholt
has produced over 200 books, which are published in more than 30 languages. His
titles span every age and genre from baby board books to adult crime, winning
numerous awards, including the Historical Association Young Quills Award and
the prestigious Nestlé Smarties Gold Award on two occasions. In July 2019,
Anholt's first venture into adult crime fiction, Art Of Death was published by
Constable Little Brown. This is the first in the Mindful Detective series,
which has been described as 'Funny, philosophical and leftfield' and
'Broadchurch meets Fargo'. A startlingly original mystery series featuring a
Buddhist detective, Vince Caine, who often feels too much for his own good!
and Laurence live and work in a house on a hill with studios and wildflower
meadows, overlooking the sea in Devon, southwest England.https://www.anholt.co.uk
Carol Westronis a successful short story writer and a Creative
Writing teacher.She is the moderator
for the cosy/historical crime panel, The Deadly Dames.Her crime novels are set both in contemporary
and Victorian times.The Terminal Velocity of Cats the first in her Scene of Crimes novels,
was published July 2013. Carol recently gave an interview to Mystery People. To
read the interview click on the link below.