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Tuesday, 7 December 2021

‘Blind Pool’ by Vicki Goldie.

Published by Victorina Press,
31 October 2020.
ISBN: 978-1-83803602-7 (PB)

Major Alasdair Charters, a blind WW1 veteran, and his wife, the Honourable Melissa, accompanied by Thomas (Alasdair’s valet) and Sheba, the guide dog, are going to spend the weekend at Chudley House. This is the country home of the Gauntlet family, sitting comfortably within the Somerset Levels (a coastal plain and wetland area) and promises a cosy, relaxing winter weekend.  The travellers are picked up at the station by a chauffeur driving a splendid Bentley, who hurries to get them to Chudley as it becomes clear that there is going to be some flooding. When they arrive at the house, they are welcomed by Davinia, Melissa’s friend and the person who had issued the invitation to stay.  She greets them with hot milky coffee, whisky and the news that she thinks her recently deceased grandmother was murdered and that she, Davinia, may be next.

Alasdair and Melissa find themselves staying with a family under pressure, in a house surrounded by flood water and an aura of death. The rising waters cut the house off from the countryside, creating a claustrophobic and watery setting.  Tensions rise when Melissa finds a man’s body in the moat, and it doesn’t look as if he drowned

The story of the subsequent investigation is seen through Melissa’s eyes, as she passes information to Alasdair, and his thoughts and impressions, as his own senses pick up essential extras that help to solve the case. Melissa and Alasdair make an attractive couple, and form an effective amateur detective duo.  The classic country house setting, the isolation and the varied cast of characters make for an interesting and intriguing read. There is always something going on, and the action doesn’t flag.

This is the second in the series and works well as a stand-alone. It will please both existing fans and new readers.

Reviewer: Jo Hesslewood
Other books by this author:  Blind Witness, the first in the series

Vicki Goldie worked as a Chartered Librarian for the Royal National Institute of Blind People and then for the past 19 years in public libraries in Bournemouth and Poole. When her children were little she worked as a yoga teacher and therapist and taught stress relief as part of Occupational Therapy at her local hospital and hospice. She is on the management committee of Read Easy Bournemouth and Poole a charity providing 121 learning to read. Born in California but brought up in England she was introduced to the Golden Age of crime authors at an early age by her mother. Her husband was a blind Chartered Physiotherapist, and it is from his mother, born in a large country house in Devon (now a hotel), educated by governess and with a cut glass voice like the Queen, that she absorbed real life stories about the twenties and thirties. It is, of course, from her forty plus years of marriage with her late husband Richard that she has gained true insights into the daily lives of working blind people. She lives In Dorset, has 2 children and 2 grandchildren, and travels as widely as possible researching future books! She is currently writing book 3 in the series set in Bournemouth.

Jo Hesslewood. Crime fiction has been my favourite reading material since as a teenager I first spotted Agatha Christie on the library bookshelves.  For twenty-five years the commute to and from London provided plenty of reading time.  I am fortunate to live in Cambridge, where my local crime fiction book club, Crimecrackers, meets at Heffers Bookshop .  I enjoy attending crime fiction events and currently organise events for the Margery Allingham Society.

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