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Wednesday 24 August 2022

‘An Artful Murder’ by Judi Daykin

Published by Joffe Books,
26 July 2022.  
ISBN: 978-1-80405-400-0 (PB)

The good fun in the title of this book does not extend into its pages where two friends are murdered and another two seem likely to follow if something isn’t done to halt the murderer in their tracks. The action takes place in Norfolk, with much of it based around the Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts – the SCVA – which is on the campus of the University of East Anglia – the UEA.  The school of Art in Norwich also features quite prominently.

Who would want to kill the friends? Is it the same person who tried to kill Dom Wilkinson – one of the two friends still alive - by running him over a few years ago? If so, why the gap? Why did they stop killing? Most importantly, what is the motive behind the killings? The four friends targeted all attended the UEA several years previously. Three of them have returned to work on the campus, whilst the fourth, Junina, is a London lawyer. As both victims reference works of art at the SCVA, Sargent Sara Hirst, and her colleagues concentrate on workers on the UEA campus, particularly those attached to the SCVA.

As the murderer’s feeling and actions are shown alongside the investigative process, the reader learns who the murderer is and that their motive is revenge, quite early on.  After that we just have to follow the investigation and wait to see if they are caught.

An Artful Murder is an easy, if slightly gruesome, read from Judi Daykin. DS Sara Hirst is now a well- entrenched and respected member of DI Edwards’ team, though the arrival of a new DCI, Helen Hudson in mid investigation unsettles the balance of the team for a while. Fans will look forwards to the next instalment in Sara’s life. Apart from anything else she has just got rid of her boyfriend. Will he be replaced, or will she dedicate more time to her work?

Reviewer: Angela Crowther.

Judi Daykin was born in Yorkshire.  She has lived, worked and made theatre in Norfolk for the last forty years. She completed her MA in Creative Writing (Crime Fiction) at the University of East Anglia (UEA), and her debut novel was shortlisted for the Little, Brown UEA writer's prize in 2019. Judi is also a working actor, and also runs her own theatre company, Broad Horizons, specialising in commissioning new plays recovering and retelling women's stories.  She says since Joffe Books offered to publish her novel, she now has the writing bug, who knows how many more there will be.'

Angela Crowther is a retired scientist.  She has published many scientific papers but, as yet, no crime fiction.  In her spare time Angela belongs to a Handbell Ringing group, goes country dancing and enjoys listening to music, particularly the operas of Verdi and Wagner.

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