I’m pleased to be taking part in the blog tour celebrating the Morecambe & Vice Crime Writing Festival. The festival is taking place this weekend in, yes you’ve guessed it, Morecambe! You can find out about the festival on its website – https://www.morecambecrimefest.co.uk/
Over the course of the past few weeks, lots of bloggers have been sharing their enthusiasm for the writers taking part and, as you can see from the tour poster, what a stellar line-up it is. Have a look and catch up with all the blogs taking part in the tour.
I have chosen to review The Playground Murders by Lesley Thomson. It is the 7th in her Detective’s Daughter series, most of which I have previously read. Lesley is taking part in The Polari Salon this evening along with Paul Burston, Derek Farrell and 𝕃𝕚𝕝𝕛𝕒 Sigurðardóttir.
In the present day storyline, private investigator (and cleaner) Stella Darnell is asked to reinvestigate a murder case by a daughter who is convinced her imprisoned father is innocent of the charges. Her story is full of inconsistencies and I wasn’t entirely sure I believed her. An unreliable character always makes a book more interesting for me though, so it made for an intriguing start. Interspersed with the present day is the story a group of children in the 1980s. Two of them die within a short space of time in the playground where they play. Was this an accident or murder? The murder of a childis always traumatic for all involved, and with the suggestions that one of the children may be responsible this makes for a particularly unsettling read.
At first it was not clear what the connection between the cases was except that Stella’s father was the investigating officer on the earlier case assisted by a young officer who Stella would later have a relationship with, a relationship which is over in the current part of the story.
In the early part of the book, I found this a steady paced book as the author introduced her characters and set the scene. However, when the two stories begin to connect, it became a really tense read. With so many suspects in the frame for the murder, I genuinely had no idea who could be responsible and the book read like a modern day take on a ‘whodunnit’ in an Agatha Christie type style.
The closing chapters were gripping and rather unsettling, as the guilty party became obvious – and it became obvious that several characters were in real danger! I really enjoyed getting to know Stella Darnell again and getting a bit more insight into her father Terry and his investigations. The Detective’s Daughter series continues to be both a cleverly written and compelling crime series.
My thanks to Sarah Hardy at Book on the Bright Side Publicity for inviting me to take part in the tour and arranging a review copy of the book. The Playground Murders is published by Head of Zeus and available now in hardback and ebook formats. The paperback edition will be published next Thursday, 3rd October. You can order a copy from Hive (where every order benefits your local High Street): The Playground Murders
From the back of the book
The case of six-year-old Sarah Ferris, killed in an empty playground, haunted Hammersmith police for decades.
Not just because the victim would never see her seventh birthday.
But because solving the case meant arresting another child on suspicion of Sarah’s murder.
Now, forty years later, cleaner-turned-detective Stella Darnell has unearthed new information about Sarah and her killer.
As Stella pieces together the truth about what happened all those years ago, she is drawn into a story of jealousy, betrayal and the end of innocence.
A story that has not yet reached its end…
About the author
Lesley Thomson is a Londoner. Her first crime novel A Kind of Vanishing won The People’s Book Prize in 2010. The Detective’s Daughter is a number one bestseller and Sainsbury’s ebook for 2014. Ghost Girl, the second in the The Detective’s Daughter series (2014) went to number one in Sainsbury’s e-chart and is another bestseller. The Detective’s Secret was published in 2015. The Runaway, an ebook short about Stella Darnell (the detective’s daughter) came out in July 2015 and the fourth in the series, The House with No Rooms in 2016. The Dogwalker, another case for Stella and Jack, in 2017. In 2018 The Death Chamber was published. The Playground Murders came out in 2019.
Lesley lives in Sussex with her partner and her dog and is working on The Mermaid Murder, a story set in Newhaven that features Fred Power, a female mobile fishmonger.