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Sunday 5 November 2023

‘The Sixth Lie’ by Sarah Ward

Published by Canelo Crime,
2 November 2023.
978-0-80436-318-8 (PB)

It’s New Year Eve 2011. Heledd is married to Jack, and they have a three-year-old son called Hew. Jack is keen to go to a party up the road hosted by his friend Eleri, who Jack had become friends with when he went to university in Cardiff along with four other friends with whom despite her best efforts, Heledd is aware had never taken to her. Jack had always said that he was attracted to her because of her resemblance to Catherine Zeta Jones, but three years of motherhood had removed from her any vestiges of glamour.  Their agreement was that she would go to the party in the afternoon with Hew, where there would be other mothers and children, and then after  a couple of hours return home so Jack could go to the party leaving her with Hew. Heledd would have preferred not to go at all, and it was clear that waking up Hew during his afternoon sleep would not be a good idea. So reluctantly she goes on her own.  Not even wanting to go in the first place she stays the minimum time and then makes her way home. Arriving she finds that the five friends Eleri, Gruffydd, Bethan, Gemma and Duncan are all drinking and laughing. She goes up to check on Hew but he’s not there. In horror and panic she confronts the gathering. ‘Where’s Hew?’   

This is the second book in the Mallory Dawson series. Mallory has now moved to St Davids in Wales and taken a part-time job at the shop in the Cathedral. Returning home to her flat she is surprised to be accosted on her doorstep by Detective Inspector Harri Evans, who asks to have a private word.  He tells her that the body of  a woman had been found that morning on a remote smallholding. Mallory says she is not interested in getting involved with an unexplained death.  Harri then explains that the body is that of Heledd Jones whose three-year-old son Hew was found dead on the nearby cliffs at St Non's twelve years previously.

Mallory agrees to take the consultancy job offered by Harri and commences her investigations into the six friends present at the time of the disappearance of three-year-old Hew. Someone, or maybe all of them are lying, but can Mallory uncover the lies?  Who will kill to keep their secret?

This is a real page-turner. I actually did sit up all night to finish it.

On a personal note, Mallory is having problems with her son Toby, that I hope will be resolved in the next book along, maybe with some romance between Mallory and Harri.  

If you love a good mystery this is a must read for you. Most highly recommended.
Reviewer: Lizzie Sirett

Sarah Ward is an online book reviewer whose blog, Crimepieces, reviews the best of current crime fiction published around the world. She is a judge for the Petrona Award for translated Scandinavian crime novels. Sarah lives in rural Derbyshire where her debut novel, In Bitter Chill, was published by Faber and Faber.  Sarah has now published three further books in that series. The Sixth Lie is the second book in her latest series featuring Mallory Dawson.

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