Green and Pleasant Land

Written by Judith Cutler

Review written by Sara Townsend

Sara-Jayne Townsend is a published crime and horror writer and likes books in which someone dies horribly. She is founder and Chair Person of the T Party Writers’ Group.

Green and Pleasant Land
Severn House
RRP: £11.69
Released: April 1, 2015

Retired Chief Superintendent Fran Harman finds that a life of leisure is far too boring, and she jumps at the chance to work for West Mercia police as a consultant on a cold case, along with her partner Mark (who is a retired Assistant Chief Constable).

And so Fran and Mark find themselves re-opening the case of footballer’s wife Natalie Foreman, who disappeared twenty years ago along with her young son Hadrian.  Natalie’s disabled baby was found in the empty car fatally ill, but there has been no sign of Natalie and Hadrian ever since.  As Fran and Mark continue their investigations it soon becomes clear that someone doesn’t want them looking too closely at this case.  Can they find out what happened to Natalie before they become victims themselves?

Having not read any of the earlier books in the Fran Harman series, I don’t know the back story of Fran’s history in the police force or why she decided to retire.  However, it becomes clear fairly early on that she’s not a woman who’s about to spend her retirement taking up knitting or playing golf.  In fact I found her an immensely likeable character.  She’s strong-willed and decisive, and married to a man who is quite happy to let his wife take the lead on everything, including the senior career.  Now that’s my kind of heroine.

Against a backdrop of natural disaster (flooding) and someone trying to force Fran and Mark out of their rented cottage, the intrepid duo follow Natalie’s 20-year-old trail and uncover more questions than answers. 

This book ticks all the right boxes for me as a reader.  Strong-minded and likeable heroine.  Amiable and affectionate male sidekick who knows who’s boss (and it’s not him).  A carefully plotted mystery with a thrilling conclusion, and a few moments of genuine suspense.  Fans of both amateur sleuth mysteries and police procedures will find much to love in this novel.

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