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Spedding, Sally - 'Cold Remains'
Trade Paperback: 304 pages (Feb. 2012) Publisher: Sparkling Books Ltd ISBN: 1907230289

Jason Robbins, recently made redundant is, under sufferance, temporarily living with his brother in Hounslow. On a visit to his doctor for a prescription for anti-depressants, he reads an article offering tuition on how to write a best- seller novel. The course is in deepest Wales at Heron House and run by best selling novelist Monty Flynn. Jason, with his brother losing patience, decides to arrive early after clearing this with Mr Flynn. Besides the Irish owner the household contains a cook, a young woman Helen Myfanwy Jenkins, and an elderly odd couple the Davies. She is the cleaner and he the odd job man. Both are less than welcoming.

Strange visitations and voices are heard by Jason. Is it the tablets he's taking making him hallucinate? Who is the mysterious dark haired girl? Why are there four sinister men appearing and disappearing? The local police are not helpful. Are the Davies married or brother and sister? Have they a son and who is the father? Why does Monty Flynn leave for London suddenly when he spots a piece in the newspaper about a suicide?

The action takes place in a cold, wet uninviting Welsh village, full of dark secrets and Celtic legends and where the brooding rooks play their part in the terror. Switching between present day and 1946 the story illustrates how different generations all fall under the evil spell of the sinister Heron House. In the earlier period an English born headmaster and a local man, shunned by the village as he was a conscientious objector during the war, go missing trying to help the young dark haired girl. In the present day, Jason is becoming very attached to Helen but will the dark haired girl allow them to be together?

I had not come across this Welsh-born author before. She has written several books and is heavily involved in Welsh literature and divides her time between Wales and France. This is a horror story and a mystery. If you like well-written creepy thrillers, this is one to consider.

Geoff Jones, England
April 2012

More European crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 13/04/2012 14:17