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Saturday 11 April 2020

‘The Rooks Die Screaming’ by Clive Tuckett

Published by The Book Guild,
28 August 2019.
ISBN: 978-1912884536

Set in Cornwall not long after the first world war, the story revolves around Harry Frobisher who was badly injured in action and is now blind, and his wife Morag. The couple return from their honeymoon in Europe. After an encounter with a railway guard at Paddington station who tries to prevent them boarding the train, they eventually find their seats. When the train arrives in Cornwall, a dead body is discovered in the adjacent carriage. It turns out to be the difficult guard from London.

It seems the dead man is a member of a mysterious secret organisation known as The Nest of Rooks. It appears that one of the organisation was a double agent and in order to protect his identity, he sets about killing the remaining group members. Morag’s brother-in-law, Inspector Edwards arrives to take charge of the case.
Harry and Morag are quickly drawn into this complex mystery. Harry receives a letter from an old army friend who arrives in Bodmin, but before the two of them meet up, the man is murdered. 

It soon becomes evident that the family home, Frobisher Hall holds its own secrets and that Morag’s freedom is in danger from an old enemy who had imprisoned her in an insane asylum several years before.

This is a complex story with a large cast of characters several of whom have their own subplot, including the mysterious elderly woman who brews poisons living in one the estate cottages deep in the woods on the Frobisher estate.   

When Morag is away from the hall, Colonel Standish arrives and arrests Harry on a charge of treason insisting that Harry is the fourth Rook, the double agent who sold military secrets to the Germans and ordered the killing of the other members.

Fast-paced and packed with action, unravelling this tangled web of intrigue will keep the reader guessing until the very end.
Reviewer Judith Cranswick

Clive Tuckett lives in Ringwood, Hants and has spent the past 25 years working in banking and financial services and also holds a BA (Hons) in History. Before embarking on a career in the financial services, Clive served in the Royal Air Force as a Policeman and spent the majority of his time guarding nuclear weapons during the Cold War when tensions between NATO and the Soviet Union were at their highest. As a boy, Clive's family spent several years living in Bodmin before moving to London.

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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