Posts Tagged ‘Jill McGown’

Unlucky for Some (Lloyd and Hill Book 13)

The joint winner of a Bingo prize is found dead in an alleyway not far from the Bingo club shortly after she left to walk home.  Tony Baker, a journalist and broadcaster witnesses the murder.  He had a huge success investigating a case of a serial killer which had the police stumped some years before and has made a name for himself making programmes about various aspects of crime.

Immediately after the murder Baker starts receiving anonymous letter apparently from the killer which provide information about his next attack.  DCI Lloyd and DCI Judy Hill are baffled by the murder as it seems motiveless as even the lady’s winnings are still with the body.  Can they find the killer before there is another death? Will Tony Baker, carrying out his own investigation get there before them?

This is a complex story with plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader guessing.  I did work out who was responsible quite early on but it didn’t spoil my enjoyment of this well plotted and well written mystery.  This is the thirteenth and last volume in this series and it is a pity, in my opinion, that there won’t be any more because the author died in 2007.

I recommend this series to anyone who prefers their crime novels without on the page graphic violence and bad language.  The characters are always well drawn and the dialogue realistic. I have enjoyed reading them all and I’m sure I shall be re-reading them all at some point in the not too distant future.

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Births, Deaths and Marriages (Lloyd and Hill Book 12)

Judy Hill’s baby decides to make her appearance rather earlier than planned which meant she and Lloyd had to cancel their planned wedding.  Then while she is walking in the park with the baby someone else’s baby is snatched from a pram within feet of her.  Judy suddenly discovers that she cannot bear to let Charlotte out of her sight.

A woman is found battered to death in an isolated woodland cottage and DCI Lloyd finds himself in the middle of a baffling investigation in which he has no real idea of the identity of the victim or of what she was doing at the cottage.  Was she moving in or moving out?  Who is the badly injured man who was found lying in the driveway but who had apparently managed to dial 999 before he lost consciousness?

This is one of those cases in which the more the investigators find out the less they know about the people involved.  I found it tense and uncomfortable reading at times but I just had to finish it to find who really was the murderer and of course whether Judy and Lloyd eventually managed to tie the knot.

This is a well plotted and well written story and I thoroughly recommend both the book and the series of which it forms part.

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Scene of Crime (Lloyd and Hill Book 11)

The Malworth amateur dramatic society is rehearsing its Christmas pantomime of Cinderella.  Unfortunately half the cast seem to be absent for one reason or another and the rehearsal is not going well.

DI Judy Hill – eight months pregnant – is dragooned into playing Cinderella just for that evening and DCI Lloyd – her partner – is persuaded to read the part of Buttons and finds he quite enjoys himself.  But the evening is interrupted by a call to Lloyd saying the Dr Carl Bignall’s wife has been found dead at home after what appears to be a burglary.  Carl is also a member of the dramatic society.

Lloyd is baffled by the case as he knows there is something not quite right about the scene at the house but he can’t put his finger on exactly what it is which bothers him.  The neighbours appear to have seen and heard contradictory things and at different times but maybe they have their own activities to hide from the police

As the police dig deeper into the circumstances surrounding the death they uncover more and more things which people might want to have kept from them and the case becomes more complex.  It seems that none of the people involved could  have committed the murder.

This is an excellent, well plotted murder mystery and it kept me guessing even though the clues are all there when I looked back through the book when I had finished reading it.  I recommend this book and this series to anyone who likes well plotted and well written murder mysteries with little on the page violence and virtually no bad language.

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Picture of Innocence (Lloyd and Hill Book 10)

Bernard Bailey is probably the most unpopular man in the area and when he starts receiving death threats after a spate of vandalism on his farm no on is too surprised when he is found dead one morning.  His refusal to sell part of his land to a property developer for an access road to a new estate of houses has polarised the community.

Many people want him to sell, which he is stubbornly refusing to do.  The alternative to putting the access road across his land is to cut down an area of woodland and this would not be a popular move. But surely no one would kill him because he won’t sell a piece of land?  Once DCI Lloyd and DI Judy Hill start investigating they find that half the county had reasons to hate Bailey and even they think the murderer probably did everyone a favour.

This is a well written and well plotted murder mystery with plenty of clues and plenty of red herrings to keep the reader guessing.  I thought I’d worked out early on who the murderer was but I turned out to be completely wrong.  I like the series characters – Lloyd and Hill themselves and the irrepressible Freddie the pathologist with his macabre jokes.

If you’re looking for well written and carefully plotted crime stories then you could find this series to your liking.  The books can be read as standalone novels or as part of a series.

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Plots and Errors (Lloyd and Hill Book 9)

People wanting to read this series in order may care to note this book is listed in some places as being number nine in the series when it actually comes after ‘Picture of Innocence’ and should be listed as number ten.  I only realised that as I have been reading them in the order in which the publisher lists them but that seems to be incorrect for these two books.

That said – this is an excellent well plotted story with so many strands it’s no wonder that the two detectives have problems sorting them out.  The body count is high and starts with two apparent suicides which Lloyd refuses to believe are anything other than murder. Then there is what seems like wholesale slaughter within one family – the wealthy Esterbrooks.

The reader sees what happens from an onlookers point of view and is left to try and figure out whether they have been told the truth or not.  I found it totally compelling reading with some complex and intriguing characters – as well as some thoroughly unpleasant ones – and it kept me reading over the course of two day where I would normally have flitted between several books.

This is an excellent series which seems to just get better the more books you read from it.  The clues are all the reader to disentangle from the red herrings and I find myself completely lost in the world of the novel.  This book can be read as a standalone story and as part of a series.

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Verdict Unsafe (Lloyd and Hill Book 8)

If you read and enjoyed the same author’s ‘The Other Woman’ you will probably find this book a good if harrowing, read as it follows on from that book.  Colin Drummond is on trial for several particularly vicious murders.  DI Judy Hill attends some of the trial while she is on leave as she has a personal interest in the outcome.

The DNA evidence seems pretty conclusive as well as the masses of circumstantial evidence and together they seem to have produced a strong case against him.  As can be guessed from the title not everything is as certain as it at first appears and Judy finds herself fighting for her career as well as her physical safety.  Can she and her colleagues prove without a shadow of a doubt that he is guilty?

This is an uncomfortable read at times but very well written.  The characters are all too believable and the office politics which besets Lloyd and Hill poses a threat to their long relationship which they have to work hard to overcome.  I found it a totally engrossing read and stayed up long past my usual bed time in order to finish reading the book.

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A Shred of Evidence (Lloyd and Hill Book 7)

It is a shock for DI Judy Hill when the young girl who has been murdered in a local adventure playground turns out to be one of the girls she had seen laughing and joking with her friends on the bus home from school that afternoon.  This is a harrowing story of misunderstandings and predatory behaviour by people who really should know better.

A minor celebrity athlete, Colin Cochrane, teaches at the school that the victim herself attended and there is all sorts of gossip doing the rounds about how he could be having an affair with a pupil. The school also has a new teacher – Patrick – who has been flirting with Cochrane’s wife – Erica.  There are plenty of suspects in this well plotted and well written novel and plenty of twists and turns before the murderer is finally discovered because of the ‘shred of evidence’ of the title.

I found this a tense and uncomfortable read and was quite shocked at the solution.  It is an excellent read and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to read well written crime fiction.  The book can be read as a standalone story or as part of a series.

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