The Woman on the Cliff by Janice Frost

The Woman on The Cliff - JANICE FROST

1988. Five students at St. Andrews University share a house. It is clear that the five girls don’t all get along and that there are some tensions and disputes. But then Moira,a stunning,clever and a very confident girl is found murdered on a cliff path. Her boyfriend is charged with the murder but before the police can arrest him,he commits suicide leaving a note saying he killed her.

30 years later,Roz,one of those students returns to St. Andrews accompanying her daughter who is ready to start her studies. Roz meets Innes Nevin, one of the policeman of the original investigation. The murder of Moira has left a deep impact on him. He was never completely convinced of the culpability of the boyfriend. And very slowly they try to discover the truth behind this horrendous crime.

This is an easy reads that keeps your attention (perfect for a flight where you sit between a snoring bloke and a grumpy teenager) right until the denouement .Then the story becomes a bit messy,confusing and goes definitely over the top. And the explanations are not exactly crystal clear and satisfying. Pity…

 

The Bone Fire by S.D.Sykes

The Bone Fire - S. D. Sykes

1361. Oswald de Lacy,Lord of Somershill,is forced to leave his estate because the plague is coming uncomfortably closer. So with his wife,his young son and his cantankerous mother,he seeks refuge in the isolated castle of Godfrey of Eden,on the Isle of Eden. The castle, perched on a lonely cliff is surrounded by nothing but marsh. But Godfrey has other problems than the plague. He has a layabout brother,is suspicious and has very strong religious beliefs. To his mind the plague,apart from heralding the end of the world, is also the punishment of God upon humanity and especially upon the church and the clergy. Oswald and his family are not the only ones seeking refuge in this cold and bleak castle. From the first night tensions run high and the atmosphere is somewhat unpleasant. And then Godfrey is murdered. Oswald takes it upon himself to discover the murderer(s) but only encounters more mysteries and more deaths. I remember reading the first book,The Plague Land, in this series and I wasn’t completely enchanted by it. So,I was a bit apprehensive when I started The Bone Fire,but there was really no reason for it. It is a classic mystery story in a historical (and his this case,haunting )setting. It is well written,the characters are well defined and well,I just wanted to finish it. And then I felt a bit sorry that it was finished…Always a good sign!

Tongued with Fire by Norman Russell

Tongued With Fire - Norman Russell

Baron Renfield,the proud owner of Renfield Hall,has serious problems. He is bankrupt and both his wife and the Baron want to keep their estate and their way of living but there seems to be no straightforward solution unless…his rebellious daughter marries a very wealthy American. But the daughter has no such intentions because she is madly in love with Alan Lavender,the nephew of Guy Lavender, a mean book antiquarian. Guy discovers some hidden secrets in the Renfield family their historical past and attempts a spot of blackmail. When Guy is found murdered suspicion falls on Baron Renfield. But it is not the only enigma. There is the story of an incident in Renfield’s past when he was an officer, there is a ghost somewhere and there is another murder and a suicide…so there is really a lot going on. But it works. The characters are well developed and the storyline is, albeit not always straightforward, easy to follow and keeps one’s interest. And although it takes place in the present,there is a bit of an interbellum atmosphere. If you are not looking for a psychological thriller with gory details and really depraved characters but for a good mystery with a certain charm,then this is definitely a very good choice.

 

Deadland by William Shaw

Deadland - William Shaw

Two young teenagers, Tap and Sloth decide to take the road to petty crime so they can forge a place for themselves in a rather bleak and uninspiring environment. Unfortunately they have more ambition than talent and they steal a holdall containing a rather expensive iPhone and a cheap Alcatel phone. But the owner is very serious about retrieving his possessions and the threats become very quickly life-threatening and deadly. Meanwhile DS Alexandra Cupidi and Constable Jill Ferriter are asked to look into a rather morbid incident. A severed arm is found in a modern art installation in the Turner Museum in Margate. It is their introduction to the hazy world of art collectors,foundations and financial Maecenases. Although at first sight both cases seem to have nothing in common, very slowly a connection is made between the two boys of a council estate and the glittering world of art with a capital A.

It is a good story,it is well written,the coastal location in Kent next to a nuclear power plant is very well chosen and it definitely keeps your attention until the end.

The why only three stars? Well,and I know this is personal,but I just couldn’t connect with Cupidi and Ferriter. Sometimes they felt a bit contrived,then a bit bland and then over the top. I did not understand their reactions or attitudes on certain occasions and I therefore found it very hard to like (or dislike) them,to be moved by them or to be very interested in them…

Ah well, it happens!