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Monday 10 January 2022

‘The Night Thief’ by Joy Ellis

Published by Jaffe Books,
5 November 2021.
ISBN: 978-1-80405030-9 (PB)

For years an intruder nicknamed Ratty has been climbing through windows while the householders – all women- are asleep, just for the exhilaration of walking through their houses without them knowing. The police have never been able to catch him. Then one night he seems to up his game. He steals a photograph of a young boy. He has never stolen anything before. Four more thefts of photos follow, and the death of one of the women starts a baffling case for detectives D. I. Jackman and D. S. Marie Evans. Was it an accident or something more sinister?

When Ratty suspects another person is copying him, he decides to help the police and try to trap the person himself, not realising what he is getting into.

The police are baffled as to why the photos of the boys are taken. No connection is apparent. Annie Carson, one of the victims of the intruder, contacts the other women who have had photographs stolen, and they start to shed some light on the puzzle.

On tracing a friend of Nan’s, the elderly lady who died, the police discover enough about Nan’s earlier life to put them on the track of the recent intruder, but it gets very complicated.

Meanwhile Jackman’s wife Laura, the forces psychologist, is worried about one of her patients who claims he sleepwalks. Can he really drive his car whilst sleeping as he says he does? He certainly seems very unstable, and she starts to fear for her life. Is he connected to the intruder in any way?

There is also concern about a man seen hanging around schools in the area, can he have anything to do with the missing photographs of the boys? The plot thickens.

Then a boy goes missing. Jackman and the team really have to pull out all the stops now. Where on earth do they start looking? Can they find him before the perpetrator carries out what he has in mind?

I do enjoy Joy Ellis’ books set in the Fens; she really brings their desolate beauty to life. The Night Thief is very well plotted and full of surprises at every turn. I found it riveting and highly recommend it.

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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