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Thursday 20 January 2022

‘Mud, Muck and Dead Things,’ by Ann Granger.

Published by Headline,
11 June 2009.
ISBN: 978-0-7563-2051-6

 Life in a Cotswold village . . . the essence of rural tranquillity … but not always. There is a darker side. Twenty-five years ago, the Smith family – Albert, Millie, their sons Nathan and Eli – lived and worked at Cricket Farm. Then Nathan, for no apparent reason, killed his parents and then himself. Only Eli was left; although he still farms the land, he no longer lives in the farmhouse and uses the farmyard as a scrap metal dump. The farmhouse and outbuildings are locked up and derelict. A perfect place for dodgy property dealer Lucas Burton to rendezvous with one of his associates. Except that when Lucas arrives in his silver Mercedes, the only person in the barn is a young woman and she is very dead. Lucas is out of the barn like a bat out of hell, but his car is seen by others, particularly Penny Gower who runs the nearby stables. Penny’s friend Andrew Ferris calls the police.

Enter Detective Inspector Jess Campbell (who appeared briefly in the last Markby and Mitchell, That Way Murder Lies) in the first of a series featuring her and the enigmatic Superintendent Carter. Enter also an array of well-drawn and lively characters: Jess’s grumbling sergeant Phil Morton, the cheerful forensic pathologist Tom Palmer, the feisty Czech waitress Milada, the neurotic Dave Jones, the deeply unpleasant Mark Harper, to name but a few. Add them and others to a strong, well-worked out and original plot and you have, as ever with Ann Granger, a really satisfying read.

Reviewer: Radmila May

Ann 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.

Radmila May was 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.

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