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Tuesday 31 October 2023

‘Shades of Murder’ by Ann Granger

Published by Headline,
July 2000.
ISBN: 0-7472-747-1 (HB)

Damaris Oakley and her sister Florence are the only remaining members of the Oakley family, now living in diminished circumstances. To enjoy a comfortable old age they have decided to sell the ancestral home. For the last hundred years they have lived under the shadow of their Grandfather’s arrest and trial for the murder of Cora their Grandmother. That William Oakley was never convicted of the murder, but disappeared directly after being released from jail has not dispelled the stigma attached to the family

So, when they receive a letter from a young Polish man claiming to be related to their Grandfather William Oakley, they panic, not only for the adverse publicity his claim will reawaken but also that any court case is bound to drag on for years, and the sisters are not young.

I loved this book, it has everything. Both periods, 1889 and the murder of Cora, and the current situation set in 1999 run side by side. We are through the author privy to the characters of both times. The wonderful thing is that it is never confusing. Possibly, because the characters of both periods are so well drawn that it would not be possible to set them in a different time.

Meredith Mitchell, who has her own problems with interlopers, is on the case, it being in her own village amongst people she knows.

For all the Meredith fans out there is one of the best books by Ann Granger I have read, and she throws in an odd comment, which had me twitching to say the least. I will say no more, you must read it for yourself.
Reviewer: Lizzie Hayes

Ann Granger was born in Portsmouth where she was a pupil at the then Northern Grammar School for Girls and went from there to London University where she achieved a BA in Modern Languages (French with German). After a period spent first teaching English in France and then working in the Visa Section of British Embassies around the world. She met her husband, who was also working for the British Embassy, in Prague, and together they received postings to places as far apart as Munich and Lusaka. She is the author of the Mitchell and Markby Mysteries, the Fran Varady series and more recently the Lizzie Martin mystery series. She lives in Bicester, near Oxford.

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