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The Shrouded Path by Sarah Ward - Review

Saturday, February 22, 2020

I've read the first two of the Connie Childs books by Sarah Ward and really enjoyed them. You can find my reviews here for In Bitter Chill and here for A Deadly Thaw. I bought the third book - A Patient Fury - but hadn't got round to reading it. In fact, I'd forgotten about it. Then I spotted this in the library when I was there for my craft club at the beginning of February and decided to get it out. Reading these books out of order isn't a problem because they stand alone. There are a couple of mentions to the previous book, but nothing spoilerish. Something in that book has made Palmer leave though, which I'm glad about because he annoyed me. Instead, Connie and Sadler are joined by a new detective, Dahl.

At the beginning of the book, Sadler is on holiday, on a staycation at home. In his absence, Matthews is keeping things ticking over. She wants Connie to go over an unexplained death just to make sure there was nothing suspicious about it. Nell Conley was found dead on her sofa by her neighbour. When Connie digs deeper, she thinks there's a link to a previous unexplained death, that of Ingrid Neale, who was found on her sofa by her sister. Connie and newcomer Dahl start to investigate, including the women's doctor in their investigations.

Sadler's neighbour wants to speak to him because Nell Conley mentioned to a lawyer that she was thinking of writing a memoir. It seems like this has made someone in the vicinity get very anxious about something that happened back in the 1950s up in a disused railway tunnel known as the Cutting.

Meanwhile, Mina, a woman who works as a gardener around the town of Bampton, is visiting her elderly mother, who is dying of cancer in hospital. Hilary, when unsettled and on a lot of pain medication, mentions seeing "Valerie", and mentions killing her. Mina promises her mum that she'll find out what happened to Valerie.

I liked this book a lot, I thought it was better than the last one I read. The atmosphere of a damp, wintry Derbyshire is done really well. The High Peaks are somewhere I know well, living not too far away in Barnsley, and I love the air of menace the area has in these books. I liked Mina better than I've liked the female protagonists in the previous two books. I really liked her life and her mother and how she was trying to unravel the mystery.

I did feel like the denoument was a little bit lacking. I would like more showing of the police talking to the culprit to try to understand them a little bit better, but that's honestly the only thing I didn't like about the book. I'm giving it four out of five!


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