Clear My Name by Paula Daly

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Clear My Name by Paula Daly

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: Karrie said that she didn't murder her husband's lover, so why was her blood found at the scene? A cracker of a story from one of my favourite authors. Definitely recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 304/9h42m Date: August 2019
Publisher: Bantam Press
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1787632103

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Tess Gilroy works for Innocence UK, a charity investigating the cases of prisoners who can convince them that they've been wrongly convicted and they're just moving on to their next case. She's somewhat surprised when Clive, the head of the charity, announces that she'll have someone shadowing her. Avril's in her mid twenties and rather gauche as well as prone to putting her foot in it. One of the reasons they're now going to look at the case of Carrie Kamara is that she's female and Innocence have never yet taken up the case of a woman: such impressions matter.

Karrie's been found guilty of murdering her husband's lover, Ella Muir. She denied it at the time, was found guilty and is three years into a fifteen year sentence. She still says that she didn't do it - and why would she? She knew about her husband's affairs and they had an agreement that Pete would stay until their daughter Mia was nineteen. She just asked that, for Mia's sake, he was discreet in his affairs. He'd not been particularly discreet with Ella Muir - and Karrie went to see Ella to ask her to cool it a little. She never even went into the house, so why was it that when Ella was found stabbed Karrie's blood was found on the inside door handle? The jury disregarded all the other evidence which suggested that Karrie wasn't the murderer and allowed the DNA in the blood to convince them.

Mia's now living on her own and pregnant. She has nothing to do with her father who abandoned her mother after Ella's death. He's now living with another woman. Tess and Avril, who constantly discusses her boyfriend, William, work their way through the evidence, reinterviewing all the witnesses. She can find weaknesses but not that breakthrough piece of evidence which will bring the case back to the Court of Appeal. There's another problem too: much of the action takes place in Morecambe, where Tess grew up - and a piece of her past is going to come back and bite her.

I'm always excited when a Paula Daly book comes across my desk. As a reviewer you get to read a lot of books. Some of them you read because you have to - just a few you really can't wait to open up and any book by Daly comes into that category. The books are all set in the northwest and there's a real sense of place, be it the lake district or the Fylde coast. It's not the tourist destinations which you see, but the areas where people live and work.

The characters are always excellent too. Tess Gilroy is flawed. She's doing her best to avoid her past and her personal relationships are virtually nonexistent. She likes it that way. She has a purely physical relationship with Clive, her boss, but gets frightened when he wants to leave his wife for her. That isn't what she had in mind at all! The standout character for me was Avril: it was a real pleasure to watch her mature as I read. Towards the end she's really contributing. I'd love to hear more from the Tess and Avril combo.

You're waiting to hear about the plot, though, aren't you? Well, pretty early on I had it worked out I knew who and why. Everything I read confirmed what I was thinking. In fact, I was wondering if Daly was going to disappoint me when I realised that I'd got it completely wrong. Mind you, the police had too, so I wasn't alone. It was a real shocker - and then there was more to come. Yes - a cracker of a read.

If you're looking for something else to read Daly already has a back catalogue. Start with Just What Kind of Mother Are You?. We also loved The Trophy Child. You won't be disappointed.

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