As a founder member of Mystery Women in 1997, promoting Crime Fiction has always been my passion.
Following the closure of Mystery Women, a new group was formed on 30th January 2012 promoting crime fiction.
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Quercus Editions Ltd, 14 July 2016. 2016. ISBN 978 1 78087 977 2
Blackwater is the first in
what I believe is planned to be a period police procedural series. Set in
the garrison town of Colchester during the celebrations for the 1983 New Year,
it introduces Detective Inspector Nicholas Lowry who is approaching forty,
Detective Constable Daniel Kenton, a bright young graduate who had been fast
tracked into CID, and WPC Jane Gabriel, a tall, attractive ex-model with short,
Colchester barracks is currently home to troops recently returned from
the Falklands campaign. But the war has been over for six months, and the
heroic status of the young soldiers has given way to complaints from the locals
about their unruly behaviour. Many of these young soldiers are out on the
streets drinking-in the New Year when a report arrives that one of their number
has fallen to his death from a wall in the Castle Park. Further away out
of town, a headless body is discovered in six inches of water on a causeway
linking Mersea Island with the mainland. What, if anything, connects
these two events?
We are told that the use of drugs by both the police and the military
was common in that era. The means by which army regulars cater for this
need forms the backbone of this tale.
Colleagues at the Mersea police station are more of a hindrance than a
help. They are a law unto themselves and a thorn in the side of DC Kenton who
has the strange idea that the person who commits the crime is the person who
should be punished for it, rather than a local felon that the Mersea
constabulary elects to punish because it suits them to do so.
Lowry is also frustrated by the Red CAP’s - military police –tendency to hijack
witnesses and victims who are servicemen by taking them back into the Barracks
or sending them overseas, thus preventing Lowry from questioning them.
Although Blackwater is a long
(485 pages) and complicated tale, it is an easy read with a good mix of other
characters. These include Chief Superintendent Sparks who is about to get
married for the third time, his – most of the time - friend Brigadier Lane, a
piano playing Red Cap Captain, and numerous young soldiers and local yokels.
There is also a fair sprinkling of personal data. At forty, Lowry has
decided to give up smoking and boxing and take up bird watching. One
feels he might do better to watch his wife who is a nurse, or his young son:
the one is having a fling with a doctor at the hospital she works in, and the
other – who has grown up spending the odd night in the cells when both parents
are out - is probably being bullied at school. Anyone who likes period
police procedurals is bound to enjoy this book.
Reviewer Angela Crowther
James Henryis the pen name for
James Gurbutt, who has written three prequels to R D Wingfield’s popular Frost
series. He works in publishing,
Angela Crowtheris a retired
scientist. She has published many scientific papers but, as yet, no crime
fiction. In her spare time Angela belongs to a Handbell Ringing group,
goes country dancing and enjoys listening to music, particularly the operas of Verdi
Published by the British
Library, 10 August 2016. ISBN: 978-0-7123-5648-0
Regency Square in Cheltenham
consists of spacious, elegant houses, and their diverse residents are all very
reputable people. At the start of the book the inhabitants are described in
some detail, and it seems that no body of people could be more respectable.
They include a vicar and his sister, two elderly and religious unmarried
ladies, a forthright spinster and her dogs, a bank employee and his wife, a
local doctor, a retired man and his wife, a hypochondriac stockbroker, and an
unmarried lady who is fond of travelling, whose house is being looked after by
her author brother. The residents have several minor causes for squabbling, the
most divisive of which is the desire of some people to cut down the large elm tree
in the corner of the central garden, but they also have a mutual hobby, many of
them are keen and skilled archers. There is only one person who does not fit
into this highly decorous group, and that is Captain Cotton, with his noisy
motorbike and his predilection for making advances to married ladies.
inhabitants of Regency Square are horrified when one of their number is killed,
especially when the murder weapon is a bow and arrow. It is one thing to read
about violent crimes in the newspapers, quite another when it happens in their
own square and they could become suspects. Fortunately, Aldous Barnet, the
author who is looking after his sister's house, has a friend staying with him
who is well used to dealing with murder mysteries: Superintendent Meredith of
the Sussex County Police. The local police inspector is delighted to have
Meredith's assistance and together they unearth many secrets concealed by the
respectable residents of Regency Square, but it is not until another death
occurs that Meredith discovers the truth behind the killings.
was first published in 1937. It contains a workmanlike murder mystery, a
skilfully created setting and a cast of beautifully drawn characters, whose
idiosyncrasies invest the whole book with gentle, mischievous humour and make
the book a very enjoyable read.
Reviewer: Carol Westron
pseudonym of Ernest Elmore (1901-1957). He was born in Maidstone Kent. He
attended Mill Hill School until 1919, where he was a boarder. He attended a
secretarial college in Cheltenham before becoming Games master at St
Christopher Scool, Letchworth. While there he also assisted with the school's
dramatic activities. His interest in dramatics led him to join the Lena Ashwell
Players as stage manager, touring the country. Much of Elmore's early writing
took place in dressing rooms during his spare time. He met his wife Betty in Maidstone.
They married in 1933 and moved to Sussex, where he became a full-time author.
Other John Bude crime titles available as British Library Crime Classics
include The Cornish Coast Murder, The
Lake District Murder, The Sussex Downs Murder --and Death on the Riviera.
Carol Westronis a successful short
story writer and a Creative Writing teacher.She is the moderator for the cosy/historical crime panel, The Deadly
Dames.Her crime novels are set both in contemporary
and Victorian times.The Terminal
Velocity of Cats is the first in her Scene of Crimes novels, was published
July 2013. Her latest book The Fragility
of Poppies was published 10 June 2016.