Blog Tour/Book Review: None So Blind by Alis Hawkins

None So Blind Blog Tour Poster

I’m delighted to be hosting today’s stop on the blog tour for None So Blind by Alis HawkinsNone So Blind is the first in a new historical crime series, ‘The Teifi Valley Coroner’, set in the west Wales countryside of the 1800s. You can read my review below.

WinI’m pleased to say there’s also a giveaway (UK and Republic of Ireland only) with the opportunity for one lucky person to win their own paperback copy of None So Blind.  To enter the giveaway, click here.

Giveaway terms and conditions:

  1. Giveaway ends on 29th November 2018 at 12.00am GMT.
  2. Open to residents of the UK and Republic of Ireland only.
  3. The winner will be selected at random and notified using the email address they have provided. The winner will have 48 hours to respond with the postal address to which the prize should be sent. Prizes cannot be shipped to a PO box.
  4. If no response is received, a new winner will be selected.
  5. Please note What Cathy Read Next is not responsible for despatch of the prize but only for notifying the publisher of the winner’s details.
  6. The information you provide in the entry form made available to me by Rafflecopter will be used by me only for the purposes set out above. You can read Rafflecopter’s Privacy Policy here.

Many thanks to Emily at The Dome Press for inviting me to participate in the tour and for my review copy of None So Blind.  David Headley and the team at The Dome Press have a real knack for spotting great books and None So Blind is no exception.  Some of the other titles published by The Dome Press I’ve enjoyed recently are listed below (click on the title to read my review).

Smart Moves by Adrian Magson
Juliet & Romeo by David Hewson
The Last Day by Claire Dyer
Beautiful Star & Other Stories by Andrew Swanston

none-so-blindAbout the Book

West Wales, 1850. When an old tree root is dug up, the remains of a young woman are found. Harry Probert-Lloyd, a young barrister forced home from London by encroaching blindness, has been dreading this discovery.

He knows exactly whose bones they are.

Working with his clerk, John Davies, Harry is determined to expose the guilty, but the investigation turns up more questions than answers.  The search for the truth will prove costly.

Will Harry and John be the ones to pay the highest price?

Praise for None So Blind

‘Beautifully written, cunningly plotted, with one of the most interesting characters in crime literature.’ (E. S. Thomson,  author of Dark Asylum)

‘Individual and lively.’ (Barry Forshaw, writer and journalist)

‘The most interesting historical crime creation of the year.’ (Phil Rickman, author of The Wine of Angels)

Format: Paperback, ebook (457 pp.)    Publisher: The Dome Press
Published: 15th November 2018   Genre: Historical Fiction, Crime, Mystery

Purchase Links*
Publisher (30% off cover price) |  ǀ  ǀ (supporting UK bookshops)
*links provided for convenience, not as part of any affiliate programme

Find None So Blind on Goodreads

My Review

‘There’s none so blind as those who will not see.’

When the reader is first introduced to Harry Probert-Lloyd, they probably share his opinion that his sight loss (which at first he tries hard to conceal) is an insurmountable obstacle to his career as a barrister. ‘But if I could not read, or see a person’s face, or scrutinise an object, was I not blind?’  His condition has forced Harry to return home to his father’s estate and a future as a country squire in which he has little interest and which goes against his own egalitarian instincts. And if he can no longer pursue a career as a barrister, what hope does he have of successfully carrying out the investigation of a possible crime?

However, Harry has several things in his favour, such as his familiarity with the local people, his knowledge of the Welsh language and his heightened other senses.  As Harry confides to the reader, ‘Though I could not see their expressions, sometimes I was able to infer what people might be feeling from discernible movements or changes in posture’. And he retains his barrister’s skill in eliciting testimony from witnesses and instinct for weighing the truthfulness of their evidence.   He also has solicitor’s clerk, John Davies, to steer him in the right direction.  But does that only mean helping Harry avoid physical obstacles or notice things Harry can’t? Could John have other more personal  reasons in guiding Harry through the investigation?

Determined to get to the truth when all around him seem to want to keep the past firmly buried, Harry’s investigation brings him into conflict with both his father and risks making dangerous enemies – enemies who are not used to having their power and influence challenged.

In the fourth section of the book, in which Harry and John find themselves in unfamiliar territory, the revelations come thick and fast, proving that often people only see what they want or expect to see.  It just goes to show, we can all be blind to some things…  However, as his investigation progresses, Harry starts to ask himself whether there are some things better left in darkness and never brought into the light.   For others, it’s the exact opposite.

None So Blind is a cleverly constructed historical crime mystery that skilfully sustains the reader’s interest right to the end, partly thanks to the two narrator structure.  Throughout the book, I found myself constantly questioning what I was being told… and wondering what I wasn’t being told.  I’d liken it to a crossword puzzle where you think you’re making progress but then discover one wrong answer means you need to rethink all the clues you think you’ve solved so far.

The so-called ‘Rebecca Riots’ make an intriguing backdrop to the story and I found the author’s Historical Note at the end of the book absolutely fascinating, especially the contemporary parallels it brought to mind.  Oh, and readers wondering about the relevance of the series’ title ‘The Teifi Valley Coroner’ will find the answer at the end of the book.  They’ll also be dealt a few teasers by the author to be followed up, it is hoped, in future books in the series.  I’m definitely hooked.

I received an advance review copy courtesy of publishers, The Dome Press.

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In three words: Atmospheric, compelling, suspenseful

Try something similar…The Magpie Tree by Katherine Stansfield (read my review here)

Alis HawkinsAbout the Author

Alis Hawkins grew up in Cardiganshire, read English at Cambridge University and works with speech and language for the National Autistic Society.  Her first novel, Testament, was published by Macmillan.  She lives with her partner in the Forest of Dean near Monmouth. (Photo credit: Goodreads author page)

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