The Playground Murders by Lesley Thomson

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The Playground Murders by Lesley Thomson

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: The seventh book in the The Detective's Daughter series is one of the strongest yet. Excellent plotting, great characters and an ending which blew me away. Highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 384 Date: April 2019
Publisher: Head of Zeus
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1786697240

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Rachel Cater was having an affair with her boss, Chris Philips, an auctioneer. It was, she told her mother, love at first sight. Her mother was more sceptical and wondered why, if it had been love at first sight, it had taken him so long to do anything about it. Still, more than anything, she wanted her daughter to be happy. That was what Rachel wanted too and it was why she went to the Philips' family home, determined to have it all out in the open. Instead she was stabbed fifteen times. Her lover was convicted of her murder.

Nearly forty years ago there was a playground where two children had been murdered. The youngsters, Danielle Hindle, Robbie Walsh, Sarah Ferris, Lee Marshall, Nicola Walsh and Kevin Hood all played on the roundabout, the swings and the slide in varying degrees of harmony. Two of them would die: the first was initially thought to be an accident. The second was obviously a murder and it was to be Terry Darnell who would eventually realise that the killer was one of the children.

Terry Darnell's daughter, Stella, is doing well in her businesses. She's branched out from Clean Slate, her cleaning company and now has a detective agency too. Jackie Makepeace has moved over from being Stella's PA to front this up and her place has been taken by Trudy Wates. OK, she's not Jackie, but Stella's not unhappy with how it's working out, even though Trudy does seem to be moving over to the investigation side of the businesses. Stella's happy in other ways too: her relationship with Jack Harmon, train driver and investigator is going well. At fifty three it seems as though Stella's met her man.

Then Carrie Philips (rather bluntly) asks Stella to investigate the conviction of her father for the murder of Rachel Cater. She believes that her mother was responsible. It's all rather convoluted, particularly as Clean Slate is called in to deep clean the crime scene.

I can't believe that's it's six years since I read The Detective's Daughter but luckily I did remember that if you're presented with what seems like a cast of thousands and you can't see a connection, then you just need to relax. You're in safe hands with Lesley Thomson. The connections will be revealed to you gradually. You'll realise that people are not always who they seem to be and that childhood trauma leaves a long shadow. Thomson handles it all superbly.

It's the plot you want to know about though, isn't it? You know you're going to meet the regulars - although I have to say that I was relieved that there was less of Jack Harmon's more mystical qualities, which had - occasionally - annoyed me, in earlier books. The plot, though, is brilliant. The threads gradually unwind themselves and then begin to touch before becoming one, whole, glorious solution, which absolutely blew me away. It's complex, but not to the extent that it's difficult to follow - although you do wonder about the mental contortions which must have been necessary to think up a plot like this. It's a book to read - and then read again to see how it was done.

The book is highly recommended and I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

You could read The Playground Murders as a standalone, but it's worth reading the series in order to get the best out of the books.

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Buy The Playground Murders by Lesley Thomson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Playground Murders by Lesley Thomson at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy The Playground Murders by Lesley Thomson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Playground Murders by Lesley Thomson at


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