The second in the Bunch Courtney investigates series, In Her Defence by Jan Edwards, is due early April this year.
Bunch Courtney’s hopes for a quiet market-day lunch with her sister are shattered when a Dutch refugee dies a horribly painful death before their eyes. A few days later Bunch receives a letter from her old friend Cecile saying that her father, Professor Benoir, has been murdered in an eerily similar fashion. Two deaths by poisoning in a single week. Co-incidence? Bunch does not believe that any more than Chief Inspector William Wright.
Set against a backdrop of escalating war and the massed internments of 1940, the pair are drawn together in a race to prevent the murderer from striking again.
The first volume, Winter Downs, won the 2018 Arnold Bennett Book Prize and is available in various formats.
A page-turning read from the start, this is a wonderful murder mystery set in a fascinating time. Bunch Courtney and her sister Dodo are engaging, interesting sleuths, as is Chief Inspector Wright, the enigmatic detective seconded from Scotland Yard for the duration. Jan Edwards’s characters are very real and you sense they’re full of hidden depths to be gradually revealed through the series. A satisfying mystery, puzzling and unpredictable with – like the times – an edgy sense of urgency and danger. The atmospheric setting is superb with the snow-bound Sussex Downs as central to the story as Morse’s Oxford. I love the way the author depicted a newly changed rural community with all its sense of loss and intrusion. The period detail is effortlessly done, absorbing the reader into Bunch’s world. A great treat.
One of the oddest things about writing fiction, be that novels or short fiction, is that you never know where it will end up, or how it might return to you – if ever. With that in mind, I was very surprised when I was contacted this week by The Valkenswaard War Cemetery, asking about my uncle who is buried there. I never knew him, of course, because Pvt Alfred Gedded Graham 2nd Bn. Middlesex Reg. was killed during operation ‘Market Garden’ (?) in October 1944 – some 10 years before I was born – and was buried in this tiny war cemetery…
To read more of Jan Edwards’ intriguing story pop over toher blog.