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.
New reviews are posted daily, but to search for earlier reviews please click on the Mystery People link below and select 'reviews' from the welcome page. This will display an alphabetic option for you to find the review you would like to read
For PREVIOUS REVIEWS- Click on MYSTERY PEOPLE below -
Joffe Books, 12 November 2019. ISBN: 978-178931255-3 (PB)
DS Ava Merry and the recently
appointed DC Polly Jane Jenkins are preparing to attend a 1940s themed charity
event.The Valentine’s night dance is
being held at Northfields Farm, a remote location about twenty-four miles from
Stromford where the two officers are stationed.Ava has agreed to attend in the hope that PJ, as Polly is known, will
find welcome distraction after recently breaking-up with her fiancé.Sure enough, before long, PJ finds herself
dancing with a seemingly endless succession of young men.Ava, happy to see her young colleague having
fun, decides to leave the barn for some fresh air.
Once outside she sees some
young boys hanging around and, true to her profession, she decides to
investigate their behaviour, thinking that perhaps they are underage drinkers
or looking for somewhere to smoke without their parents’ knowledge.She follows them into what appears to be a
garage in the grounds of the farm … what happens next triggers an investigation
into a gruesome double murder.
The enquiry begins in the
absence of Stromford C.I.D.’s lead officer, DI Jim Neal who has been attending
his sister’s wedding in Scotland.On his
return he takes charge of the enquiry and learns that the farm is home to
retired engineer Aubrey and wife Bea Stratford.The couple run a glamping business at the farm, assisted by their
children Blue and Monty, and the multi-talented, but secretive, Soren Hunter.As the investigation progresses suspicion
moves between the intriguing members of this unusual group and it soon becomes
clear that Soren is not the only person with a hidden past.
The central protagonists Ava
Merry and Jim Neal are likeable and interesting.Ava has not been a detective sergeant for
long and is still adjusting to her new responsibilities, whilst Jim, her supervisory
officer, is a single father who is devoted to his son as well as his
profession.The narrative reveals
tensions between the two detectives; they are both attracted to each other, but
unsure about whether their respective feelings are reciprocated.Of course, they are not the only characters
who have complicated lives. Soren Hunter’s
back-story, for example, eludes the investigators and the reader alike until
the very end of the book.The interest
created by the characterisation is fuelled by the strength of the plot which
moves swiftly and is compelling.
Murderous Secrets is the
sixth book in Janice Frost’s Neal and Merry crime series.The book works perfectly well as a
stand-alone and, as someone new to Frost’s writing, it certainly made me want
to read the author’s previous novels.It
is a fast-moving and enjoyable read with a delicious twist at the end – highly
Reviewer: Dot Marshall-Gent
Frostis 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.
Dot Marshall-Gentworked in the emergency services for twenty years
first as a police officer, then as a paramedic and finally as a fire control
officer before graduating from King’s College, London as a teacher of English
in her mid-forties. She completed a M.A. in Special and Inclusive
Education at the Institute of Education, London and now teaches part-time and
writes mainly about educational issues. Dot sings jazz and country music
and plays guitar, banjo and piano as well as being addicted to reading mystery
and crime fiction.