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Friday, 21 August 2020

‘The Dying Light’ by Joy Ellis

Published by Jaffe Books,
23 July 2020.
ISBN: 978-1-78931475-5. (PB)

Ex-police officers now private detectives, Matt Ballard and Liz Haynes live on Whisper Fen, Lincolnshire and congratulate themselves on the completion of their first successful case.

A close friend of theirs ex-Detective Inspector Will Stonebridge, who lives not far away, also on the fens, asks them to look into a series of incidents at a property belonging to Emilia Swain a German widow living nearby. Will suspects a strange creepy character Gerald Grove who moved in locally eighteen months ago, but he has no proof.

Soon however Will has other things to worry about, his wife Kate is starting to act strangely. She never really recovered mentally from losing a baby and being told she could never have another. She becomes convinced that their house hates children and is obsessed by its history. It has a tragic past concerning the deaths of children and it’s as if she takes on the sadness of all the other people who lived there whose children died.  Kate illustrates youngsters books about fairies but her paintings take on a malevolent and sinister air. To make matters worse, she befriends the strange Grove, they wander the atmospheric fens together.  Then she finds an old doll in the garden and seems traumatised. She cleans it up and carries it around with her.

Meanwhile Mrs. Swain's beautiful garden is trashed, and this time Matt calls in the police. Someone obviously wants her to move out, but who and why?

Strange lights are seen over the fens, the locals call them “will o'the wisp” luring people to their deaths, but Matt suspects something else going on.  Then another child disappears locally. The fens can be very dangerous places and a frantic search begins.

Surely the house cannot really dislike children and influence their deaths, can it?  Matt and Liz are hard put to solve the intimidation of Mrs Swain and find the missing girl. Can the two possibly be connected in some way, and is Grove behind one or even both? Also, what have the strange lights got to do with anything?

I really enjoyed this wonderfully atmospheric story bringing the menacingly brooding fens to life. I thoroughly recommend The Dying Light to all who enjoy an engrossing psychological thriller with a moving ending.
Reviewer: Tricia Chappell

Joy Ellis was born in Kent but spent most of her working life in London and Surrey. She was an apprentice florist to Constance Spry Ltd, a prestigious Mayfair shop that throughout the Sixties and Seventies teemed with both royalty and ‘real’ celebrities. She swore that one day she would have a shop of her own. It took until the early Eighties, but she did it. Sadly the recession wiped it out, and she embarked on a series of weird and wonderful jobs; the last one being a bookshop manager Joy now lives in a village in the Lincolnshire Fens with her partner, Jacqueline. She had been writing mysteries for years but never had the time to take it seriously. Now as her partner is a highly decorated retired police officer; her choice of genre was suddenly clear. She has set her crime thrillers in the misty fens.

Tricia Chappell. I have a great love of books and reading, especially crime and thrillers. I play the occasional game of golf (when I am not reading). My great love is cruising especially to far flung places, when there are long days at sea for plenty more reading! I am really enjoying reviewing books and have found lots of great new authors.

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