A storm of biblical proportions stirs the sleepy village of Whyncombe St. Giles and Germans into confronting the mysterious disappearance of a local girl whose life and apparent death had cast a dark shadow over the local population. The unprecedented deluge is used The author (DJ Wiseman) uses the weather as a metaphor for the emotional extremes created by the discovery of Melanie-Anne Staple and thes remains and then the gradual realisation that a second young life has been the unprecedented deluge had probably washed away by the vagaries of nature a second young life.
The oppressive and unprecedented summer heat evokes the growing pressure felt by the cast of suspects as persistent police questioning uncovers dark and long forgotten secrets while the freak storm acts as an emotional release for the suppressed suspicions of all those whose lives had been changed forever by the events of 11 years ago.
The author’s references to Oxfordshire bring familiarity to the settings, but the list of suspects is more Midsomer Murders than Inspector Morse. From the stoic vicar and his wicked wife through to the repressed farmer and the out of town family with a secretive past we have a classic list of characters that would quite comfortably test the investigative skills of Inspector Barnaby.
As with any good murder mystery the reader is lead down a number of blind alleys until we reach the surprising denouement. However, the “who done it” dilemma is made credible by the author bringing us to that eureka moment by cleverly mixing the past with the present to give a balanced picture of the place and time.
Ultimately though this is a tragic tale of the spirit of youth being extinguished by the emotional corruption of adulthood.
The Subtle Thief of Youth – DJ Wiseman
askance-publishing.com. Available in print, kindle and other e-readers. c. £10.
- Rich Reviews rating: