In Bitter Chill Sarah Ward
It is not often I can say I have found an original plot line. One that I have not come across before, and when I do I usually find them contrived. After all a Police procedural based around a murder can only be done so many ways, can’t it?
From Arthur Conan Doyle, through to Lynda La Plante somebody somewhere must have covered just about every plot, or so I thought until I read In Bitter Chill by Sarah Ward.
DI Sadler and his team, DS Palmer and DC Childs, are called to investigate an apparent suicide in a Hotel in Bampton within the Derbyshire Peak District. Not an incident they would normally be involved with, but the dead woman is the mother of one of two girls who were kidnapped in 1978, a case that was never solved.
Their boss Superintendent Llewellyn had been a recruit PC in 1978 and wants his team to re-examine the kidnap whilst investigating the apparent suicide.
One of the two girls, Rachel Jones, was found 3 hours after initially been taken and now works in the same town, as a Genealogist. She has no little of the incident, but the suicide of her friend’s mother starts a turn of events that begins to bring back memories.
As the Police carry out their investigations Rachel starts her own using her skills, and knowledge, as a local historian, but who if anybody will unravel the facts that will bring either case to a close.
The book looks at the effects of the kidnap on the surviving girl. How she has developed into a slightly introvert expert in her field. It looks at the psychological effects it has on her, and how the investigation into the death of her friend’s mom’s suicide makes her question her own family and how they dealt with her disappearance.
The story is complex but easy to follow. The reason its easy to follow is because its hard to put down. I didn’t put it down long enough to come anywhere near forgetting what I had previously read.
The use of a Local Historian/Genealogist as one of the main protagonists in the book is a stroke of genius. It is this that makes this story unique. Interlinking crimes set in the same community but separated by nearly 40 years. The Police investigation is shackled by passage of time and the real expert being one of the victims. How much leeway can they give Rachel without compromising any findings, or her welfare?
I made extensive notes to help me write this review, but I don’t want to give away any of the story so I won’t be using them, I will say that the main characters, and many others, in the book have interesting storylines within the main context of the book. They are all developed as the story moves along and by the end of the book I was left hoping that there would be more to come in future instalments.
Here’s hoping that In Bitter Chill will be the first of many books by Sarah Ward.
When I researched Sarah I found out that this is her first book, and that she has written a lot of reviews for other books in her own blogs at www.crimepieces.com
For me that makes the originality of this book even more impressive. They say everybody has a book in them, and with my experiences I would like to think I had one in me, but every time I sit down to try and come up with a plot I always think “no that’s already been done”, or “no I’ve read that before somewhere”
Well Done Sarah. I look forward to many more tales from the Derbyshire Peak District.