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Sunday 25 June 2023

‘Black Valley Farm’ by Sheila Bugler

Published by Canelo,
22 June 2023.
ISBN: 978-1-80032734-4 (PB)

This is a novel centring around a decade long murder mystery involving the deaths of 9 people at a remote farm.  The plot thickens steadily and holds your attention the whole time.  The main characters are a charismatic totally amoral woman who ran the cult like enclosed farm set up as a haven, but in fact was a prison and an investigative Pod Cast designer who is keen to solve the mystery of these murders

Other characters involve survivors of the massacre, and one is kept in suspense all the time as to who these people really are, as there is much hiding of identities and twists and turns in the plot development.

I never for a moment lost interest and was not disappointed with the final denouement.  Many topical issues are raised throughout the telling of the story - often with a feminist perspective - child care, domestic violence and extreme politics take prominent roles as the mystery unfolds. 

The characters are well rounded - only the main female protagonist is totally evil and the others are fallible and complex in their personalities as human beings often are. 

A really enjoyable read and one I could thoroughly recommend.
Reviewer:  Toni Russell

Sheila Bugler grew up in a small town in the west of Ireland. After studying Psychology at University College Galway, she left Ireland and worked in Italy, Spain, Germany, Holland and Argentina before finally settling in Eastbourne, where she now lives with her husband, Sean, and their two children. When not writing fiction, Sheila provides a range of  writing services to aspiring authors.


Toni Russell is a retired teacher who has lived in London all her life and loves the city.  She says, ‘I enjoy museums, galleries and the theatre but probably my favourite pastime is reading.  I found myself reading detective fiction almost for the first time during lockdown and have particularly enjoyed old fashioned detective fiction rather than the nordic noir variety.  I am a member of a book club at the local library and have previously attended literature classes at our local Adult Education Centre.  I am married with three children and five grandchildren.

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