Today it is my turn on the BlogTour A Fatal Obsession by Faith Martin. It has the charm of a popular television police procedural combined with the plotting of an old master of crime.
Faith Martin is an English author who was born in Oxford. She lives in an Oxfordshire village. She is best known for her popular detective series, starring Detective Inspector (DI) Hillary Greene. She began her writing career as Maxine Barry. She also writes under the pen names, Joyce Cato and Jessie Daniels.
About the book
The start of a brand new series from the global bestselling author of the DI Hillary Greene series.
Oxford, 1960. There’s a murderer on the loose and two unlikely heroes are poised to solve the case.
Meet Probationary WPC Trudy Loveday – smart, enthusiastic and always underestimated. In the hope of getting her out of the way, Trudy’s senior officer assigns her to help coroner Clement Ryder as he re-opens the case of a young woman’s death. She can’t believe her luck – she is actually going to be working on a real murder case.
Meanwhile, the rest of the police force are busy investigating a series of threats and murders in the local community, and Clement can’t help but feel it’s all linked. As Trudy and Clement form an unlikely partnership, are they going to be the ones to solve these crimes before the murderer strikes again?
If you took a young Jane Tennison and a grumpy Judge John Deed and threw them in a police procedural together, then you would get the equivalent of Ryder and Loveday. Trudy is one of the first WPCs on the force, which means having to endure constant put-downs, sexism and just an overall attitude of not being wanted.
The majority of her male colleagues think women are too weak and stupid to be able to work as a police officer. More often than not she finds herself delegated to the role of tea and coffee lady, and never receives any recognition for the actual police work she does.
Trudy jumps at the chance to work with Clement Ryder, a coroner with a keen nose for liars and hidden crimes. When a man, with a reputation to lose, receives threats that turn into actual crimes it reawakens the interest Clement had in an old case. He uses Trudy to do his digging, and she ends up creating a rockslide.
Martin writes a pithy plot with characters readers will want to revisit. I particularly enjoyed the way Martin highlights the daily chauvinism and major obstacles Trudy has to overcome to be taken seriously, and to be seen as equal member of the police force.
In the 21st century it’s hard for women who are lucky enough not to have the same obstacles, to be able to fathom how difficult it must have been over half a century ago for women entering male dominated careers. Not that there isn’t still a level of inequality or sexism in our day and age, but it’s nothing compared to then. Women like Trudy paved the path for others to walk upon.
The author keeps it simple, and yet simultaneously intriguing with a flair of a popular television police procedural. It’s about good old footwork, questioning and overlooked evidence. Where Ryder and Loveday are concerned it’s all about the niggle of doubt, the flicker of suspicion, and of course the ability to prove your theory. No matter how outlandish it may seem.
Publisher: HQ Digital, Harper Collins UK