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 Honno Welsh Women’s
Press, 21 March 2019. ISBN: 978-1-909983-86-1 (PB)
children, preparing for the Duke of Edinburgh Award, stumble by chance on a
dead body near a mountain track in mid-Wales and their teacher summons the
local police. Detective Sergeant Julie Kite is newly promoted and has been
working in Wales for only a few months. She had thought that this was a quiet,
peaceful area where little happened, but this is the second murder
investigation she has been involved in since she moved from her native
Manchester. Julie misses her friends and family in Manchester and has found the
change of lifestyle difficult to adapt to, both because it takes so long to get
from place to place and because in the Welsh towns and villages everybody seems
to know everybody else. She cannot go anywhere in company with her senior
officer, Detective Inspector Craig Swift, without him being greeted by name.
Julie’s husband, Adam, has embraced their change of circumstances with its
opportunities for mountain exercise, although Julie wishes that he had not also
embraced a vegan lifestyle, which means she is forced to resort to stealthy
take-away meals in her car.
The body is in a state of decomposition
and so emaciated that it is not until the pathologist starts the post mortem
that she realises the victim is a young woman. Further examination reveals that
she has at some point had a child. The police struggle to identify her but when
they manage to do so the case grows even more complicated as their
investigation reveals that several more people have gone missing in the last
few months and they cannot be sure whether they have any connection with the
case. They trace the last place the victim stayed to a local bed-and-breakfast but
are uncertain whether it is a coincidence that the owner’s husband had packed
up and left without a word. When they discover the victim’s identity, it seems
more than chance that the victim’s next-door-neighbour has also left her home, leaving
a note for her husband begging him not to look for her. Most important and
worrying of all is the question of what has happened to the victim’s small son.
When another body turns up in mid-Wales the case grows even darker and more
complex, and its solution hinges on whether Julie can win the confidence of a
badly traumatised ex-serviceman.
Rather to be Pitied is the second book in the series featuring Julie Kite and
the ranks and relationships of the police team were slightly confusing in the
first few chapters for a reader who had not read the first book. Apart from
that, it was excellent in every way. The plot was complex but coherent and
intriguing, and the descriptions of the Welsh countryside were vivid and
evocative. Above all, the characterisation was superb; the whole police team
were realistic and likeable, and both Julie Kite and Craig Swift were
thoroughly engaging characters. I would recommend Rather to be Pitied to
any reader anyone who enjoys an intelligent police procedural with an awareness
of social issues. A page turner.
Reviewer: Carol Westron
Jan Newtongrew up in Manchester and Derbyshire,
spending her formative years on the back of a pony, exploring the hills and
moorland around her home. She lived and worked in London and Buckinghamshire
for 19 years until moving to Wales in 2005. Jan has won several writing
competitions, including the Allen Raine Short Story competition, the WI Lady
Denman Cup, and the Oriel Davies Gallery competition for nature-writing. She
has been published in New Welsh Review. Remember
No More is her first novel.
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.