I am delighted to share my review today for The Carnelian Tree by Anne Pettigrew. This 2was a wonderful murder mystery story that had a great whodunnit vibe to it.
My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy from the publisher Ringwood Publishing.
A dead body, a disappearance, and an epic lost in time. Unrelated incidents on the surface. Judith Fraser’s Oxford sabbatical quickly takes a sharp turn when she gets tangled in the mysterious murder of a colleague. With threads leading nowhere, conflicting impressions about people around her, and concern for increasing risk to her loved ones, whom can she trust? Her eccentric housemates? The CIA? Or, herself? Too many questions and insufficient answers.
A uniquely amusing and page-turning mystery novel set in 2003 on the eve of the Iraqi War, The Carnelian Tree follows the journey of Judith Fraser as she unravels mysteries of locked doors, missing computers, cat’s collars, and Reuter’s reports, with the help of DCI Keith Steadman, her potential love interest. Judith probes into people, power, politics, and sex, only to discover that some things remain unchanged. With a shady glimpse of the Oxford underbelly, this cross-genre novel will appeal to the full range of crime and mystery readers including Cosy Crime fans.
This is a murder mystery that is one that would have a certain Belgian Detective scratching his head I am sure. The story starts off as a professor is murdered, then a computer goes missing, along with a diary and the whereabouts of a manuscript and ancient relics are brought into the mix.
The main protagonist is Judith, she is already a teacher but is returning to Oxford to continue her studies. Judith lodges in one of the houses that is shared by various other people, one of which is the murdered professor. It is she who discovered his body and then finds that she is more interested in discovering what happened as there are a series of suspicious happenings, nothing she can particularly discover definitely evidence for but enough for her to voice her concerns to the Detective in charge, Keith Steadman.
In between drinks, studies, coursework, chats and getting together Judith along with some of the other house members and her friends, they start to piece together events themselves. This is a wonderful who-dun-it mystery and one that kept me on my toes as the author led me from one piece of information to another but kept the finishing line beyond my reach until she was ready.
At times this story felt almost like a comedy as some of the things did make me chuckle, it is a wonderful cosy crime and there is a good amount of tension but in a more friendly way. As I mostly read crime thrillers with more of a bloody or brutal aspect to them, it was really great to get rid of the macabre for something a bit lighter but still with a wonderful amount of suspense and tension.
I really enjoyed this one and if you like a more mysterious rather than bloody murder then this is definitely one for you. It is one I would happily recommend.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Born in Glasgow, Scotland, Anne Pettigrew was a family doctor for 31 years and also has a degree in Medical Anthropology from Oxford. She wrote extensively in the national medical and lay press until retirement when she turned to penning novels about women doctors, discrimination, and crime. She was a Bloody Scotland Crime Fiction Festival 2019 Spotlight Author – ‘one to watch.’ Member of several writers’ groups and multiple short story competition winner, she lives in Ayrshire and enjoys good books, good wine, and good company.
Past novels: Apart from containing crime, Not The Life Imagined and Not The Deaths Imagined follow Dr Beth Slater’s career and challenges from the 1960s to the ‘80s. This latest stand-alone novel, The Carnelian Tree, charts the tribulations of Scots teacher Judith Fraser on sabbatical in Oxford at the time of the Iraq War.
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