Welcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for A Conspiracy of Silence by Anna Legat, the fifth in her crime series featuring DI Gillian Marsh. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in the tour and to Accent Press for my review copy via NetGalley.
I’m delighted to say there’s also a giveaway (UK only) with a chance to win a DI Marsh Series mug and the first four books in the series – Swimming with Sharks, Nothing to Lose, Thicker than Blood and Sandman.
Enter using the Rafflecopter link here.
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– UK entries only
– Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.
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– If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner.
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– I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
About the Book
When a body is found in the grounds of a prestigious Wiltshire private school, DI Gillian Marsh takes on the case. The young groundsman, Bradley Watson, has been shot dead, pierced through the heart with an arrow.
As the investigation gathers pace, DI Marsh is frustrated to find the Whalehurst staff and students united in silence. This scandal must not taint their reputation. But when Gillian discovers pictures of missing Whalehurst pupil, fifteen-year-old Rachel Snyder, on Bradley’s dead body – photos taken on the night she disappeared, and he was murdered – the link between the two is undeniable.
But what is Whalehurst refusing to reveal? And does Gillian have what it takes to bring about justice?
Format: Paperback (272 pages) Publisher: Headline Accent
Publication date: 15th October 2020 Genre: Crime
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Although the fifth in the series, A Conspiracy of Silence can definitely be read as a standalone as the author quickly brings new readers (like myself) up-to-date with everything they need to know about DI Gillian Marsh. She has a no-nonsense approach which can appear brusque but is just the outward manifestation of a steely determination to get to the bottom of any crime she’s given to investigate. In this respect, she reminded me of Ann Cleeves’s Vera Stanhope.
There are glimpses into Gillian’s home life, revealing her as a bit of a loner who has prioritised her career over other things. Although she enjoys a pie and a pint with colleagues after work, there’s a clear line between work and anything else. That is, unless she chooses to cross it.
As Gillian embarks upon the investigation into the murder of Bradley Watson, she soon starts to ruffle feathers, notably those of Whalehurst’s headmaster, Edwin Featherstone. Sorry, Dr. Edwin Featherstone. He seems more interested in protecting the school’s exclusive reputation than the fact a dead body has been found in its grounds. Or that the victim was killed in such an unusual fashion, given the school has a a society devoted to Medieval martial arts, which include archery.
The nearby village of Little Ogburn epitomizes a community separated along class lines, divided into “the leafy owner-occupied” Upper Little Ogburn and the “decrepit housing estate” of Lower Little Ogburn. If you were thinking it sounds a little like the Wiltshire equivalent of TV’s Midsomer Murders, think again. The storyline features distinctly darker aspects of contemporary society such as county lines drug rings, bullying, right-wing extremism and the murky side of social media.
The anguish of Rachel’s parents at her disappearance is vividly depicted and I got a clear sense of how this made the officer in charge of the case, DS Mark Webber, even more determined to find out who – and what – was responsible for Rachel’s sudden disappearance. I was less a fan of the use of the past tense in some chapters and the present tense in others.
In conducting her investigation, Gillian faces, as the title says, a conspiracy of silence. But not only that; there’s a conspiracy of misogyny too, expressed in sometimes crude language.
Although not overburdened with police procedure, A Conspiracy of Silence demonstrates the patient, detailed process of investigating a crime, the teamwork involved and the human impact on those waiting for answers about their loved ones. In DI Gillian Marsh, the author has created a character whose flaws are definitely outweighed by her desire for justice, making the reader root for her.
In three words: Realistic, suspenseful, mystery
Try something similar: Payback by R.C. Bridgestock
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About the Author
Anna Legat is a Wiltshire-based author, best known for her DI Gillian Marsh murder mystery series. A globe-trotter and Jack-of-all-trades, Anna has been an attorney, legal adviser, a silver-service waitress, a school teacher and a librarian. She read law at the University of South Africa and Warsaw University, then gained teaching qualifications in New Zealand. She has lived in far-flung places all over the world where she delighted in people-watching and collecting precious life experiences for her stories. Anna writes, reads, lives and breathes books and can no longer tell the difference between fact and fiction.
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