Review published on July 5, 2017.
A tragic case of murder-suicide is the conclusion of most of the team investigating the deaths of Peter Winson, his wife and young son in a house fire in Bampton, Derbyshire. However, DC Connie Childs isn’t satisfied. She feels strongly that this crime is linked to the disappearance of Elizabeth Winson, the dead man’s first wife, in 1980 and her investigations into both crimes increase her unease about the evidence. Her tenacity leads to conflict with her bosses and puts her career at risk.
This was an engrossing read that was more than just a ‘police procedural’. Substantial parts of the book focus on the characters affected by the murders, their relationships, the tensions between them, and the effect that the disappearance of their mother had on George and Julia, both as children and now in their adult lives.
The author displays an empathy with her characters through the observations of Connie and Julia and the growing self-awareness of DI Francis Sadler. The tension builds from Julia’s increasing fear that she is in danger, and her suspicions about the possible involvement of her brother George in the crime. The author demonstrates an acute awareness of the behaviour of people under stress, and describes this from both the police and victims’ points of view. There is some exploration of the events in 1980, but most of the narrative takes place in the present. The plot is credible and the story gripping. The reader’s knowledge and understanding of the characters is gradually built up and developed, while leaving us guessing and wanting to learn more. I finished it all too quickly and look forward to reading the two earlier books in the series and any others that Sarah Ward writes. I would recommend this as a reading group read as not only is it a ‘page-turner’ but there are also plenty of topics for discussion arising from the plot, characters and setting.
Adie Batt 4/4
A Patient Fury by Sarah Ward
Faber & Faber 9780571332328 hbk Sep 2017
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