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Tuesday 16 January 2024

‘Dead Letters’ by Christine Poulson

Published by Robert Hale,
ISBN: 978-0-7090-7069-1 (HB)

Cassandra James is content with her new life, living in an isolated cottage in the Fens, and her new job at a woman’s college in Cambridge. Until that is she finds Margaret her head of department floating in her swimming pool and then everything is changed.

Asked to take over Margaret’s position as Acting Head of Department, Cassandra has access to Margaret’s papers and stumbles across secrets she would prefer not to have known, but which lead her to question Margaret’s accident.

Did Margaret and Malcolm have the wonderful marriage that they portrayed to the world? And what was Margaret’s relationship to a dead student? Soon Cassandra is suspecting of all those around her. When she decides to do a little investigating, she unwittingly puts herself at risk.

This is a fascinating mystery, the sense of place is very strong, and the episode of Conan Doyle acting through a medium was just brilliant. This is Christine’s debut book and I just hope the next one is not long coming.

Most highly recommended.
Reviewer: Lizzie Hayes

Christine Poulson writes, I was a respectable academic, lecturing in art history at a Cambridge college before I turned to crime. My first three novels featured literary historian and accidental sleuth, Cassandra James. Something that I didn’t expect when I started writing crime fiction was that other crime writers would be such good fun and so convivial. I’ve made some excellent friends and Martin Edwards is one of them. He knows a huge amount about Golden Age crime fiction – an interest we share.

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