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Wednesday 9 August 2023

‘The Room With Eight Windows’ by Jane A. Adams

Published by Severn House,
4 July 2023.
ISBN: 978-1-44831110-1 (HB)

Set in December 1930, the 9th book in the Henry Johnson series, finds Henry following an injury, retired from his role as detective chief Inspector, and living on the south coast, alone in the home of the late Sir Eamon Barry, cataloguing and inventorying his extensive library. He is perturbed by the sound of footsteps in the empty house where there shouldn’t be footsteps.   

Then suddenly without warning Henry vanishes. Mickey Hitchens, Henry's sergeant and friend, now an inspector himself, visits the house with his new sergeant Bexley Tibbs. Searching the room, they discover that Henry had clearly left in a hurray as he had not packed anything. Disturbingly there are also signs of a struggle and scribbled on a blotter the name Sidney Carpenter who had been murdered five years ago, and whose murder had never been solved.

As they conduct an intensive search Tibbs remarks ‘It’s an odd sort of room’ and then calls Micky’s attention to the blood stains on the floor.  Micky recalls the last time he had seen Henry, he had looked frail and old and tired, and most worrying of all, depressed. Are they searching a murder scene?

Mark Barry, Sir Eamon’s son and the current owner of the house is not interested in the whereabouts of Henry Johnson, all he wants is the contents valued so that he can sell it.

Micky’s next move is to report to Henry’s sister, Cynthia Garrett-Smyth, and it is from there that he commences his investigations. But is Henry still alive? Where can he be? Or is it already too late.

As with earlier books in this series Jane invokes the atmosphere of the time. And the introduction of Micky’s new sergeant Bexley Tibbs, who when Micky goes to report on the situation to Cynthia suggests to Micky that they go round to the tradesman’s entrance, is very much of that period. It was interesting to see how Tibbs slowly adapts to this new world he finds himself in.  

Complex and cleverly plotted. this book is highly recommended.
Reviewer: Lizzie Sirett

Jane Adams was born in Leicestershire, where she still lives. She has a degree in Sociology and has held a variety of jobs including lead vocalist in a folk rock band. She enjoys pen and ink drawing; martial arts and her ambition is to travel the length of the Silk Road by motorbike. Her first book, The Greenway, was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey Award in 1995 and for the Author's Club Best First Novel Award. Jane writes several series.  Her first series featured Mike Croft. Several books featuring DS Ray Flowers. Seven titles featuring blind Naoimi Blake, and eight titles featuring Rina Martin. Her most recentt series is set between the two World Wars and featuring Detective Inspector Henry Johnstone and his Sergeant, Micky Hitchens. Jane has also written several standalone novels. She is married with two children.

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