The Start of Everything by Emily Winslow

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The Start of Everything by Emily Winslow

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: Deceptively complex, intriguing and very readable - an author to watch. Definitely recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 350 Date: June 2013
Publisher: Allison & Busby
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0749014056

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After some flooding, the badly decomposed body of a teenage girl was washed up in the fens outside Cambridge. The major problem for DI Chloe Frohmann and DCI Morris Keene isn't how she got there - but who she is. There's no identification on her and despite the fact that she's obviously been dead for some time no one seems to have missed her. No family is in distress. No friends are worried about what has become of her. No employer is concerned about what has happened. Meanwhile, in Cambridge Mathilde Oliver the daughter of a don is trying to trace the Katja. Letters are being delivered to Corpus Christi College addressed to her, but she doesn't seem to exist. Also at the university a student dropped out of her course: Grace Rhys was uncertain about whether or not she wanted to study Maths and took a job as a nanny at Deeping House, the home of three families, another nanny and a young writer.

Don't you love it when you discover a new author - and particularly a new crime author? There's a real talent in delivering the information piece by piece so that the tension mounts and you don't quite know where you're going to be taken next and Emily Winslow gives us the story through the voices of five different narrators. Chloe Frohmann might not be the senior officer on the case but DCI Morris Keene is only recently back from sick leave following a meeting with a knife. He thought that it would be the stab wound in his stomach which caused him problems but it's actually more difficult to come to terms with the fact that his right hand is all but useless. There's a strong relationship between the two but Frohmann knows that Keene probably shouldn't be back at work.

Mathilde Oliver is probably - almost certainly - on the autistic spectrum. She's exceptionally gifted at maths but elected not to go to University and is working at the college in a menial job - but when she gets hold of a problem she doesn't let it go. Individually these are all people you could imagine encountering, but the pleasure of this book is that it's when all their worlds collide, their stories intersect, that the crimes develop a momentum of their own. As you'll read you'll think that the story is mundane in places and it's only as more and more information is revealed that you appreciate the complexity of the plot. It's completely, compellingly believable and as you get near the end you won't be able to tear yourself away

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy of the book to the Bookbag. I've just added Emily Winslow to my list of authors to be followed.

For more crime from Cambridge you might like to try the DC Gary Goodhew series from Alison Bruce, starting with Cambridge Blue, or maybe The Maidens by Alex Michaelides. For more crime with multiple narrators, have a look at Funeral Note: A Bob Skinner Mystery by Quintin Jardine.

Emily Winslow's Keene and Frohmann Novels in Chronological Order

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Buy The Start of Everything by Emily Winslow at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Start of Everything by Emily Winslow at


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