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 Headline, 9 July 2020. ISBN: 978-1-4722-7059-7 (HB)
Two years ago, Matthew Ferguson (Miff) walked out of a
well-paid but unsatisfying job in the City and has been living rough ever
since. He is quite happy in his new life, wandering the countryside and
observing how the homeless live, and has no desire to go back to a more settled
existence. Then, one night, settling down in an abandoned warehouse on the
outskirts of the Cotswold market town of Bamford, he sees a man with what
appears to be a body. He runs away, his terror increased by the knowledge that
the man has seen his face. Eventually, he seeks refuge with his uncle and aunt
in the little village of Weston St Ambrose. Here, he thinks, he should be safe.
in Bamford, however, the body in the abandoned warehouse has been discovered.
It is that of a woman, clearly murdered. Inspector Trevor Barker and Sergeant
Emma Johnson of the Bamford police are investigating but there is no clue as to
her identity or of how she came to be in the warehouse, or as to her murderer.
But then retired Superintendent Alan Markby receives a visit from one Harmony
Button whose sister Amber has disappeared. Harmony has heard about the body but
rather than go to the police herself – Harmony’s family includes a number of
petty criminals, well-known to Markby from the past – she wants him to inform
the police. Being now retired Markby tells Harmony that he cannot be involved;
however, Markby’s wife Meredith offers to go with Harmony to the police station
to support her, and the body is duly identified as being that of Amber.
in Weston St Ambrose, life is continuing quietly. Miff, anxious not to impose
on his aunt and uncle too long and wanting also to earn some money, takes a job
as assistant manager at a local garden centre run by a young woman, Samantha
French; here, he hopes, he can finally go to ground and not be found by whoever
it was he encountered in that warehouse.
then, in a field near Weston St Ambrose, a burned-out van is discovered, and in
the van the incinerated remains of a human body. The van, however, belonged to
another member of the Button family, Gary, brother of Amber and Harmony, and
this draws the team of Mike Carter and Jess Campbell, along with fellow
detectives Dave Nugent and Ben Paget, into a joint investigation with Inspector
Barker and Emma Johnson. The two teams have to put aside any sense of rivalry
before they can find answers to the two mysteries.
with all this writer’s mysteries, it is the array of characters that makes this
story particularly enjoyable. There is a whole of host of especially strong
women, almost Dickensian in character, such as Harmony Button, Amazonian in
defence of her family, and her antithesis, Amber’s landlady, the malevolent
crone Mrs Myrtle Clack. There is the formidable Mrs Jenny Porter, former
headmistress who ensures that Amber’s timid Rumanian fellow-lodger, Eva
Florescu, does eventually tell the police what she knows about Amber. Not to
mention stroppy Debbie Garley, ex-pupil of Mrs Porter, and just about the only
person who dares to argue with her. And Debbie’s garrulous Aunt Glenys who runs
the garden centre café. Even Sam French, outwardly gentle, has the ability to
get Miff to take over the administrative side of the garden centre and, despite
his initial reluctance, to utilise the skills honed in his previous City life.
And there is a splendid denouement with various people trying to escape a
determined killer by cramming themselves into a cupboard too small for them
Granger was born
in Portsmouth where she was a pupil at the then Northern Grammar School for
Girls and went from there to London University where she achieved a BA in
Modern Languages (French with German). After a period spent first teaching
English in France and then working in the Visa Section of British Embassies
around the world. She met her husband, who was also working for the British
Embassy, in Prague, and together they received postings to places as far apart
as Munich and Lusaka. She is the author of the Mitchell and Markby Mysteries,
the Fran Varady series and more recently the Lizzie Martin mystery series. She
lives in Bicester, near Oxford.
born in the U.S. but has lived in the U.K. since she was seven apart from seven
years in The Hague. She read law at university but did not go into practice.
Instead she worked for many years for a firm of law publishers and still does occasional
work for them including taking part in a substantial revision and updating of
her late husband’s legal practitioners’ work on Criminal Evidence published
late 2015. She has also contributed short stories with a distinctly criminal
flavour to two of the Oxford Stories anthologies published by Oxpens Press – a
third story is to be published shortly in another Oxford Stories anthology –
and is now concentrating on her own writing.
Publishing Group, 20 August 2020. ISBN: 978-1472274281
The novel opens with a glimpse into
the private life of Tristan and Izzy Hart as they prepare to attend a wedding
at which their daughter, Flora, will be a bridesmaid.The couple are portrayed as being deeply in
love and enjoying family life in a home that provides nurture and safety for
their little girl.Tristan is a
television host whose celebrity status has gone from strength to strength.He is admired not only for his professional
success but also for his personal integrity.His good looks, charm and wealth have not turned his head and he clearly
still adores his wife.Friends and
acquaintances who live near them in Sterndale attest to the Hart’s affability
and appreciate their support for those in the local community.
At the wedding reception the
Harts meet up with two of their closest friends from the town, Aiden and Laura
Ridley.Aiden is an ex-police officer
who retired from the West Mercia Constabulary on medical grounds after being
injured on duty.He now runs a cycling
shop, indulging his passion for the sport.As the evening draws on Tristan takes a sleepy Flora to the car park
where her nanny, Bridget, is waiting to take his daughter home.Izzy becomes anxious when Tristan doesn’t
return after an hour so Aiden offers to look for his friend who is constantly
being waylaid by adoring fans.His
search leads him to the hotel garden where he meets a police officer with the
shocking news that Tristan has been violently assaulted and is being taken to
So begins a police
investigation during which the lives of Izzy, Tristan, Laura and Aiden are
turned upside down.The certainties
which they thought defined their respective marriages and their friendship are
eroded as the investigating officers discover secret after secret buried not
only in the past but in the present too.
Erin Kinsley writes
beautifully and has produced a mystery novel that is both heart-breaking and
hopeful.Central to the narrative are
the revelations that issue from an investigation that almost destroys Izzy as
she keeps vigil at her stricken husband’s bedside.The characters are complex and interesting,
they invite empathy as well as suspicion.The story’s resolution was unexpected and moving.
Innocent is a super book thatfuses police procedural with a forensic exploration of
contemporary human relationships.I was
captivated by the lives of the protagonists and couldn’t put the novel down
until I had reached the surprising and emotionally charged ending. Highly recommended.
Reviewer: Dot Marshall-Gent
a full-time writer. She grew up in Yorkshire and currently lives in East Anglia.
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.