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Monday 30 October 2023

‘The Whispering Trees’ by Jacqueline Harrett

Published by Diamond Crime,
4 November 2022.
ISBN: 978-1-91564918-8 (PB)

Detective Inspector Mandy Wilde sits at her desk in Cardiff Central Police Station feeling really bored, when  Superintendent Withers comes in with the report that a man’s body has been found in Nant Fawr woods. Together with Detective Sergeant Josh Jones she visits the scene. The deceased is a man in his twenties, and he has a roll of bank notes totalling at least two thousand pounds in his pocket. To add to the mystery, he is wearing a pair of exclusive handmade shoes.

However, after tracing them to a company in London, it’s revealed they were personally designed for and bought by a man in his seventies. Enquiries reveal that together with other clothes they were donated to a charity. Tracing who bought them proves to be a headache for the police.

Meanwhile one of the boys who discovered the body in the woods, disappears, can it be connected? As if the team do not have enough to deal with, a spate of burglaries breaks out, a coincidence?

Further enquiries reveal that people have been occupying supposedly empty houses. Young men have been seen coming and going in the middle of the night, more coincidences? Investigations lead Detective Inspector Wilde to suspect them to be illegal immigrants. Someone seems to be employing them, also illegally, but who is actually organising it all?

There are so many different leads to follow, involving such a variety of characters, it becomes really time consuming. To make matters worse, Mandy and Josh’s boss Superintendent Withers, stresses that there will be no overtime paid while saying he wants it all solved as soon as possible.

Poor Mandy, she doesn’t even have a peaceful home life to go to at the end of the day. Her niece Tabitha lives with her after Mandy’s twin sister Joy, abandoned her to live abroad with her new boyfriend. Now she informs Mandy that she is coming back and wants to live with her. This can only be problematic. Hopefully Mandy’s sense of humour and a certain way of dealing with problems will pull her through both her personal and professional issues.

A really intricate crime novel involving a very up to date problem. I was very taken with the main character Mandy Wilde. Her sense of humour and dedication to the job make her an endearing person. I had many a laugh out loud moments and highly recommend The Whispering Trees.
Reviewer: Tricia Chappell

Jacqueline Harrett was born in Northern Ireland, Jacqui has settled in Cardiff with her husband, a cat with OCD and a bad-tempered tortoise called Speedy. Her grown up children live close by and attempt to keep her in check – with varying degrees of success. A former teacher with a passion for oral storytelling, she has also written books for teachers and published collections of short fiction in anthologies and online. Jacqui joins Diamond Crime with a classic police procedural, The Nesting Place, introducing South Wales detective, D.I. Mandy Wilde.

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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