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Tuesday 13 April 2021

‘The Apothecary's Daughter’ by Jane Adams

Published by Joffe Books,
18 December 2020.
ISBN: 978-1-78931604-9. (PB)
Originally Published August 2000 as The Angel Gateway.

Detective Inspector Ray Flowers is on sick leave after being attacked and badly burned on his face. He failed to get a good look at his assailant, and it remains a mystery as to why it happened. Perhaps it was a case of mistaken identity. When he receives a newspaper cutting and a note hinting at who the attacker may have been, he enlists the help of a friend, George Mahoney.


Meanwhile we learn that Ray has just moved into an old cottage left to him by his aunt Mathilda. He finds a journal of hers seeming to tell of the ghost of a Kitty Hallam who lived in the early 1600's in the cottage and was tried for witchcraft. There are many entries in the journal mentioning her visiting Mathilda.


As George's enquiries into who Ray's attacker was progress, he uncovers not only the involvement of a drugs cartel but evidence of police corruption. Now they don't know who to trust. Ray begins to fear for his life when the drugs baron finds out he is behind all the enquiries being undertaken.


Throughout the book we are constantly taken back to 1642-43 and learn more of Kitty and how she came to be accused of being a witch. As Ray learns more about her, he too starts seeing her ghost and becomes obsessed with finding out more.


He meets a Sarah Gordon at the local records office and together they look into the history of what happened to Kitty.


Meanwhile of course, together with George, Ray is still trying to find out who attacked him and the reason why. At the same time they must do their best to stay one step ahead of the drug dealers. Will he be able to solve both mysteries satisfactorily?


A really in depth and intriguingly intricate plot. The author very cleverly intertwines the present-day investigations with the events of the 1600's.  It is seemingly unbelievable how women were accused of being a witch on such flimsy evidence.


An added interest is the mention throughout the book of the start of the civil war and how it affected the common people.


I thoroughly enjoyed this story and highly recommend it especially for readers interested in trying to solve two crimes at once.

Reviewer:  Tricia Chappell

Jane Adams was born in Leicestershire, where she still lives. She has a degree in Sociology and has held a variety of jobs including lead vocalist in a folk rock band. She enjoys pen and ink drawing; martial arts and her ambition is to travel the length of the Silk Road by motorbike. Her first book, The Greenway, was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey Award in 1995 and for the Author's Club Best First Novel Award. Jane writes several series.  Her first series featured Mike Croft. Several books featuring DS Ray Flowers. Seven titles featuring blind Naoimi Blake, and six titles featuring Rina Martin. Her most recent series is set between the two World Wars and featuring Detective Inspector Henry Johnstone and his sergeant, Micky Hitchens. Jane has also written several standalone novels. She is married with two children.

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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