Today I’m really excited to be a part of the blog tour for The Playground Murders by Lesley Thomson, the seventh in The Detective’s Daughter series. Read on to find out what I thought!
Title: The Playground Murders
Author: Lesley Thomson
Series: The Detective’s Daughter
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Forty years ago, in the dark of the playground, two children’s lives were changed for ever.
Stella Darnell is a cleaner. But when she isn’t tackling dust and dirt and restoring order to chaos, Stella solves murders. Her latest case concerns a man convicted of killing his mistress. His daughter thinks he’s innocent, and needs Stella to prove it.
As Stella sifts through piles of evidence and interview suspects, she discovers a link between the recent murder and a famous case from forty years ago: the shocking death of six-year-old Sarah Ferris, killed in the shadows of an empty playground.
Stella knows that dredging up the past can be dangerous. But as she pieces together the tragedy of what happened to Sarah, she is drawn into a story of jealousy, betrayal and the end of innocence. A story that has not yet reached its end…
The Playground Murders is a slow burning, excellently crafted crime/mystery novel which no doubt follows the same high standard of the first 6 in the series (none of which I’ve read, though I’ve always wanted to). The fact that I haven’t delved into this series before didn’t affect my reading of The Playground Murders as far as I could tell. There’s quite a lot of tension within this novel, with two timeframes presented: the 1980s (mostly), following the tragic deaths of not one but two schoolchildren in a West London playground, and forward to the present day as Stella and Jack look into a case that increasingly looks likely to be linked.
Lesley Thomson’s writing enveloped me into Stella’s world and I loved the slow but steady build-up of the plot, with characters who felt interesting and well-rounded. I didn’t feel like any of them were overly dramatized or caricatured. I really like Stella, despite some of her faults, and Jack too. At times I got a little confused over who was who, as there were a lot of characters between the past and present-day narratives, especially with their families and spouses thrown into the mix too, but it wasn’t too big of an issue (and again, this might be something that would be easier if you’d read previous novels, because then at least some of the characters would be familiar, so I’m aware this is my fault, not the book’s. It didn’t cause much of a problem though).
The plot also felt quite believable and convincing to me, and I didn’t end the novel feeling like it was a completely ridiculous solution (though I still could never have guessed the outcome). It moves along at just the right pace to keep the reader interested without feeling too rushed or packed full of unnecessary action. I hugely enjoyed The Playground Murders and will now be catching up on previous novels!
Many thanks to Head of Zeus for providing a copy of this book on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.
[About the Author]
Lesley Thomson was born in 1958 and grew up in London. She went to Holland Park Comprehensive and the Universities of Brighton and Sussex. Her novel A Kind of Vanishing won The People’s Book Prize in 2010. Lesley combines writing with teaching creative writing. She lives in Lewes with her partner.
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