Wednesday 24 March 2021

Guest Review: A Fatal Truth by Faith Martin

As the Hughes family celebrate bonfire night, a terrible accident leaves the garden shed in flames – and father and grandfather Thomas trapped inside.
Tragic though it is, Thomas’s death passes without suspicion – until a local journalist makes accusations of a police cover-up in the press. WPC Trudy Loveday is sent to investigate, and asks coroner Clement Ryder to help.
But the more questions the two ask the less clear the case seems. There’s no evidence of foul play, and yet the dead man’s family are obviously hiding something. Then there are Thomas’s dubious business practices – was someone out for revenge?
All Trudy and Clement know for sure is that everyone is lying – and that they must find the truth…


Review: This book is the fifth in the mystery series by Faith Martin in which city coroner Dr Clement Ryder and WPC Trudy Loveday join forces in investigating suspicious deaths. The stories are set in the Oxford area in the 1960s, when female police officers were less common than they are in the present day, and were often treated more like secretaries than investigative officers. Trudy Loveday therefore considered herself privileged to be able to work in the field with the coroner. I am enjoying witnessing their growing friendship with each successful case, despite the differences in age and background between them.

In this case, the pair are called upon to investigate the death of an elderly man on bonfire night, when the garden shed in which he is working goes up in flames. His death would have been dismissed as a tragic accident, but a local newspaper reporter casts doubt upon the veracity of the police investigation, prompting calls for a more in-depth study. Since the victim was a ruthless business man who has made many enemies over the years, there is no lack of motive for murder, but also no clear suspects. The family, too, appear to have no great love for the man. As the reporter becomes more persistent in his allegations, Dr Ryder and Trudy begin to wonder just what is behind his apparent dislike of one of the man’s sons in particular. Although they are sure that something is being hidden from them, they are frustrated at how difficult it is to discover what that is.

I have read all of the books in this series and have enjoyed every one of them, this one being no exception. Every time I sit down to read one, I think that I may be able to spot the perpetrator before the end, but the plots are so skilfully engineered that I fail every time. This is surely the sign of a good mystery writer. The present story was slightly different from the others that I have read so far; I can’t reveal more than that without giving out spoilers. I, personally, liked the way in which this investigation ended. I would recommend this book, and the others in the series, to fans of cosy crime - I’m sure they would not be disappointed. I hope there will be many more books in this series.

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

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