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Tuesday 24 October 2023

‘Nights in White Satin’ by Michelle Spring

Published by Orion,
1 June 2000.
ISBN: 978-0-75283416-0 (PB)

At the Cambridge May ball on a warm balmy evening in June, amidst champagne, smoked salmon, music and laughter, young pretty Katie Arkwright disappears.

In this the fourth  book in the series private investigator, Laura Principal of Aardvark Investigations had been engaged to repel gatecrashers and maintain security at the ball. Following the disappearance of Katie, Laura is retained by Stephen Fox, senior tutor at the college to find the missing girl.

Whilst pursuing her investigations into Katie’s disappearance, a murder and anunexpected death occur. Both shocking. But are they related to the missing girl? Could the solution be locked in the past?

The writing in this book is beautiful. Michelle’s descriptive powers brought the scenes to life. I was there. At all times during the story the weather is hot. I felt this heat and the beauty of Cambridge. The contrasts of the life she portrays are vivid. Some of the settings invoking a time gone by, and when Laura goes punting with her friend Helen down the river to Grantchester for a picnic, it brought to mind ‘Stands the church clock at ten to three and is there honey still for tea’.

The story is full of beauty, violence, sadness, pain and emotional conflict. It is also about choices, and the guilt that comes from fast actions that we think will solve an immediate problem, and then too late we find that we cannot live with them, and the resulting pain.

A first-class mystery. Highly recommended.
Reviewer: Lizzie Sirett

Michelle Spring was raised on Vancouver Island. She worked for many years as an academic in Cambridge where she lived with her husband and their two children. She has written several academic books and five Laura Principal thrillers, and a standalone thriller The Night Lawyer.

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