|The Detective's Daughter by Lesley Thomson|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: Invest some time getting into the story and it will repay you handsomely. It's an intriguing idea and very well written. Highly recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 480||Date: May 2013|
|Publisher: Head of Zeus|
|External links: Author's website|
Terry Darnell - formerly Detective Inspector Darnell - came out of the Co-op in a village on the south coast, with the makings of an impromptu breakfast in a carrier bag and died of a heart attack on the way back to his car. He hadn't see a lot of his daughter in the last few years, but the death saddened Stella. She ran a cleaning company - Clean Slate - and was obsessive about cleaning and cleanliness, with her life based on order and it wasn't long before she began clearing her father's house. Hidden away in the attic were case papers relating to the Rokesmith murder, which had occurred some thirty years earlier and which had never been solved.
It happened on the banks of the Thames, just a couple of days before Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer and was witnessed by Kate Rokesmith's young son who was never able to speak of what he had seen. Her husband moved abroad and died relatively young - never quite being able to move from under the cloud of suspicion that covered him. Young Jonathan Justin Rokesmith went to a boarding school where he received nothing in the way of love or even understanding.
Stella had always resented the Rokesmith case. It took her father away from her in her formative years and her first intention was to shred the papers, which her father should never have had in his possession. But she opened the file and began to read...
A warning: some books are worth working at to get the best out of them. This is one of them and you won't do it unless you spend time getting to know the characters. In the first part of the book I felt as though I was dealing with a cast of thousands, but that went when I gave up trying to read a chapter or so at a time and settled in to get to grips with the story. Then it got a hold on me. Invest a little time and effort in the early part of the book and it will repay you handsomely.
It's the character of Stella Darnell which carries the book, with an obsession she's turned into a successful business. It's a delicate balance to bring off the page a character who is obsessive without taking it so far as to become caricature. But the joy of this book is that Lesley Thomson does it twice. Stella's partner in (solving) crime is Jack Harman, a man who worries about standing on cracks in pavements and makes life decisions based on casually-encountered numbers.
The plot is brilliant too. I thought I had it sorted pretty early on and was preparing to feel just a little smug only to discover that I might have been right about something but it was only a very small part of the story. The book's a keeper too - next time around you might know the answer but you'll be able to savour the way it's all done. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
The writing puts me in mind of Ian Rankin, but you might also like to look at Elizabeth Haynes who has similar talents. You'll also find it worthwhile to look at A Kind of Vanishing also by Lesley Thomson.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Detective's Daughter by Lesley Thomson at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Detective's Daughter by Lesley Thomson at Amazon.com.
If you'd like an ebook but don't read on Kindle then the book is available from Sainsburys.
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