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Death on Gower

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by Joanna Greenlaw

  Not a whodunnit in the usual sense of the word, Joanna Greenlaw's first foray into fiction is a complex mystery, at times leaving the reader stumbling behind as the self-possessed and multi-talented heroine (surely the author's alter ego) rushes around the northern hemisphere meeting high-powered men and women who all seem to have a finger in the pie. Helen Falconer, the journalist-cum-detective who is so wealthy that she only takes on cases when she feels like it, becomes involved in a murder investigation that starts out on the Gower peninsula. However, Gower plays only a tiny role in the story, most of which is set in France, as Helen learns that the death of an old friend's daughter is somehow linked with the secret of Rennes-le-Chateau (a real-life mystery which has puzzled great minds for a century or more).

My main complaint about this novel is the sheer complexity of the plot, with its multiplicity of characters, many of whom have little contribution to make. Opportunities for increasing the tension are sometimes thrown away, and, from the moment Helen single-handedly fights off two would-be assassins in a dark Parisian alley, we are never in any doubt that she will emerge unscathed from her travels in the land of gangsters, murderers and practitioners of the occult.

Unfortunately, the book contains a number of irritating minor errors - inconsistencies in spelling, for example. These are the kind of thing that could be eliminated by good proof-reading, and it is to be hoped that Ms Greenlaw will take note when preparing the sequel.

Link to another successful self-published book by this author

Review by Deborah Fisher

Welcome Mat


ISBN 0 9531549 3 9 Published by Joanna Greenlaw, 2000
Paperback, 184pp Retail price 7.50