Turn a Blind Eye by Vicky Newham
|Turn a Blind Eye by Vicky Newham|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A promising start to a new series featuring a female Bangladeshi detective inspector. It's a good read and Vicky Newham is an author to watch.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 384||Date: April 2018|
|External links: Author's website|
DI Maya Rahman is just back from Bangladesh and she should be on compassionate leave as she went there to bury her brother after he committed suicide. Instead of grieving at home and getting over her jet lag she's pitched straight into a murder investigation as a new member of staff discovers the body of popular headteacher Linda Gibson in her study at Mile End High School. Her hands are bound and beside her strangled body is a card with a Buddhist precept: I shall abstain from taking the ungiven. It's the second of five precepts and Maya is worried that there's been a murder that hasn't been spotted - and that there will be more deaths.
It's a story about dislocation, about cultures which clash with the British norms. In a school with a high percentage of children for whom English is not their first language and who do not necessarily speak it at home it's essential to accept that some things which do not come naturally - such as arranged marriages - must be accepted, but a line drawn before an arranged marriage becomes a forced marriage which is against the law. Despite the differences, once you look beneath the surface the aspirations, hopes and fears of all the children are exactly the same.
Maya Rahman came to the UK at the age of four and she's now the senior detective investigating the death of Maya Rahman. It's a complex case made more difficult by her having to cope with the gender and ethnicity biases in what's very much a male dominated world. Vicky Newham handles this well: she lived and worked in the area as a teacher for many years and knew that she would have to understand her students' lives if she was to help them. I liked the mix of ethnicities in the teaching staff and the student population: it felt real and immediate. Characterisation is excellent: I was behind Maya Rahman from the start and the use of an Australian detective sergeant was pure genius. Dan Maguire's suffering from dislocation too: his family is still at home in Australia where his wife, who's of Aboriginal descent, could tell you all about prejudice.
The plot's good too. We hear about what's happening from several viewpoints, including that of Steve, the teacher who would find Linda Gibson's body. He's recently moved back to East London from a teaching job in sleepy Sussex. He struggled in the countryside and missed the vibrancy of the city, but he's fighting jet lag too. He's just back from New York where he was dumped by his fiancee. Drowning his sorrows last night wasn't a great idea - and it has unfortunate consequences.
Did I spot the murderer? No I didn't - and I was pretty convinced that I knew who was behind what happened. It's a good read (and encouragingly it's the start of a new series) and I finished it over a couple of rather indulgent days. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
You can read more book reviews or buy Turn a Blind Eye by Vicky Newham at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Turn a Blind Eye by Vicky Newham at Amazon.com.
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