• Publication date: 4 Sep 2018
• Publisher: Faber & Faber
• Language: English
• ASIN: B07D3F8BZT
Source: ARC copy & my own purchased kindle copy
The past won’t stay buried forever.
November, 1957: Six teenage girls walk in the churning Derbyshire mists, the first chills of winter in the air. Their voices carrying across the fields, they follow the old train tracks into the dark tunnel of the Cutting. Only five appear on the other side.
October, 2014: a dying mother, feverishly fixated on a friend from her childhood, makes a plea: ‘Find Valerie.’ Mina’s elderly mother had never discussed her childhood with her daughter before. So who was Valerie? Where does her obsession spring from?
DC Connie Childs, off balance after her last big case, is partnered up with new arrival to Bampton, Peter Dahl. Following up on what seems like a simple natural death, DC Childs’ old instincts kick in, pointing her right back to one cold evening in 1957. As Connie starts to broaden her enquiries, the investigation begins to spiral increasingly close to home.
I was really thrilled to be asked by Faber and Faber if I wanted to be on the blog tour for Sarah Ward’s latest DC Connie Childs novel The Shrouded Path. They very kindly sent me a copy to review and I also bought my own kindle copy to read while out and about because I very quickly became drawn into the story.
I’ve been a fan of Sarah Ward since the first novel in this series In Bitter Chill and the book was one of my outstanding books of the year. The books remind me very much of old classic crime in the manner of Ruth Rendell and PD James. Always have that same feeling when I start a Sarah Ward book that I’m settling in for a cracking good read.
This book begins in a very atmospheric seasonal setting. It’s autumn of 1957 in Bampton Derbyshire and a young secondary schoolgirl observes a group of young grammar schoolgirls enter an old railway tunnel but notices that one of the girls does not leave the tunnel. She wasn’t the only observer that evening.
The tune swirled around her head as she steered her bike through the autumn mist along the thin track that would take her across the bridge to her home on the other side of Bampton. The wheels bumped and squeaked over the uneven path, startling the few birds prepared to stay in the Peak District for the winter.
Fast forward to 2014 and at the bedside of her dying elderly mother, Mina Kemp listens as her mother mysteriously implores her to ‘find Valerie’. A seemingly impossible task because Mina’s mother hasn’t spoken of her childhood before, or any friends from that time. And so it begins…
DC Connie Childs is investigating two deaths, both elderly people and one of them was about to publish a memoir. Paired up with a new addition to the detective team, DC Dahl, both have instinctive feelings that something isn’t right.
With a mystery that involves old friendships, misplaced loyalties and long held secrets that are under threat of exposure, Sarah Ward skilfully peels back the layers of the story bit by bit until all is revealed in this most fascinating tale.
I enjoyed reading this book very much and always enjoy the atmosphere and Peak District location settings that Sarah describes so vividly in her books.
A good old fashioned mystery and a book to curl up with as the nights draw in and the autumnal mists start to swirl!
Sarah Ward is the author of In Bitter Chill, which was published in 2015 to critical acclaim. On her blog, Crimepieces (www.crimepieces.com), she reviews the best of current crime fiction published around the world, and she has also reviewed for Euro Crime and CrimeSquad. She is a judge for the Petrona Award for Scandinavian translated crime novels. She lives in Derbyshire.
Follow Sarah on Twitter @sarahrward1
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