A Fatal Obsession by Faith Martin

“YOU HAVE FAILED TO DO THE RIGHT THING. YOU WERE WARNED THAT YOU ONLY HAD ONE CHANCE. NOW YOUR SON WILL DIE. HE WILL DIE AT EXACTLY TWELVE NOON TOMORROW. PERHAPS THEN YOU WILL DO THE RIGHT THING.”

When Sir Marcus Deering received this latest note in a series of threats, he went straight to the police. Just the sort of case that WPC Trudy Loveday (Probationary) would have dreamed about being involved with – but she’s been assigned to help the coroner Clement Ryder look into an old case of an overdose victim that he’s got an odd feeling about.

Soon, however, things develop in both cases. Deering’s son is indeed murdered and in Loveday’s case, it seems that Ryder’s suspicions have some grounds to them. But as events progress, is it possible that both cases are cases of murder? And how many murderers are involved, exactly?

Faith Martin has written a whole bundle of mystery novels under her own name and others. Despite a hefty back catalogue, I first encountered her pseudonym of Joyce Cato with The Invisible Murder only last year – Joyce/Faith was brave enough to suggest to this blogger that I tried one of her books and luckily, I really enjoyed it. And when I saw this first novel in a series, I figured, why not? After all, it was only 99p on Kindle? What could go wrong?

Absolutely nothing. This is a great read.

It’s been a while since I’ve read a modern book – well, it’s set in 1960s’ Oxford – that embraced the classic mystery idea so completely. Faith does a really good job of dodging the clichés with the character of Trudy and both she and Ryder have genuine depth. Ryder is a retired surgeon, retired due to the early stages of Parkinson’s Disease, taking on the role of coroner to remain purposeful in his life and the author does a nice line in balancing his character between mentor and grumpy old sod. The supporting police force are a nicely drawn bunch too, with varied opinions as to Trudy’s abilities and appropriateness for the job.

As for the mystery, the plot is rather clever, with real Golden Age echoes. I was discussing with Cross Examining Crime Kate about unique motives the other day – three novels that came to mind were Tread Softly by Brian Flynn, Blue Murder by Harriet Rutland and Geek Tragedy by Nev Fountain. I think this one just might have to join the list – some real thought has gone into the plot structure here.

I’m going to have to look at more of Faith’s back catalogue as this was a really impressive read, just the sort of thing the blog was set up to find in the first place. Needless to say – this is Highly Recommended.

4 comments

  1. Thanks for your review, and it’s nice to see two modern novels reviewed almost back-to-back – all the more so as I had seen them on my local Kindle store, and had considered getting them. I thought Faith Martin’s novels, in particular, seemed to fit the bill as a modern GA mystery, and I had in fact purchased one or two of her works – but had yet to get round to reading them. Good to hear that there is a treat in store!

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    • It’s a funny old thing trying to balance what I see as three categories of books – new releases, available old “classics” and obscure old “classics” – so to be honest, I don’t try and the order tends to be utterly random. Hope you enjoy Faith’s book, I think there’s a real talent here.

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