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Saturday 19 November 2022

‘Solace House’ by Joy Ellis

Published by Jaffe Books,
7 October 2022.
ISBN: 978-1-80405557-1 (PB)

 Detective Inspector Rowan Jackman befriends the new owners of Solace House, Holly and Hugh and their two children, Poppy and Aaron. They have only lived there a short while, but they are thinking of moving out again very soon. They tell him the house has a very unsettling atmosphere, really creepy. They knew about a murder that took place there some years ago, but it seems there is more to the feel about it than that. Jackman promises to look further into its past.

Meanwhile Superintendent Ruth Cooke asks him and his team to investigate further a twenty-year-old murder. A young woman’s body was found, minus her head. It was thought at the time that she was a sacrifice in some sort of cult ritual. A witness has now come forward saying he has evidence about what actually happened.

Then discarded black sacks are found by the roadside, they contain dismembered human body parts again minus any heads. The police cannot believe their eyes when they note the same symbols marked on them as were on the body of the girl found twenty years ago. Surely it must have been done by the same person or persons, but why now again after all these years?

Jackman is torn between solving these murders and finding out more about Solace House. With help from members of his team, he discovers the property was used in Victorian times as a kind of baby farm and is shocked to uncover the suspicions about the place at the time. Babies seemed to have “disappeared”.

Events then turn really nasty at the House; someone obviously wants them out badly and quickly. Certain things come to light leading Jackman to wonder if the happenings there can possibly be connected to the bodies in the black sacks, but if so, how? It does seem a bit farfetched.

Then he has a personal tragedy which knocks him sideways. Is it connected somehow to the cases he is investigating? How can he possibly carry on?

A wonderfully absorbing atmospheric and at times tragic thriller from Joy Ellis. She brings to life the characters and the fenlands in which many of her books are set. I do so enjoy her books and highly recommend this latest one.
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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