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Roome, Annette - 'Deceptive Relations' (Unabridged Audiobook) read by Juanita McMahon
Audio Cassette (2000) Publisher: Clipper Audio UK ISBN: 1841970492

Published in 1999, DECEPTIVE RELATIONS is the fourth and latest, if not last, in the Chris Martin series. Chris is a journalist for the Tipping Herald, the local paper in a south-eastern small town. The book opens with Chris reporting from the scene of a suicide of a local businessman. As she leaves, she's jumped upon by a woman called Janet Cox. Janet wants Chris to find her ex-husband who has disappeared whilst owing her money and in return she'll get a juicy story on prominent solicitor, Philip Chandler. Chris turns her down, explaining that her paper doesn't do that kind of thing but bitterly regrets her decision the next day when Janet's body is found, an apparent victim of road rage.

Chris's curiosity is piqued and she begins to investigate Janet and in doing so, breaks into Janet's apartment where she finds some diary entries pointing to some local buildings that have been demolished and which turn out to be in the handwriting of the suicidal businessman. What is the connection between the two dead people? As well as investigating Janet's death which is soon proved to be murder, Chris covers Tipping's possible Millennium project. The project was due to be a new park but has been changed to an entertainment complex and the alteration has not gone down well with the town's residents. As well as that, Chris has to tell her daughter Julie that her dad, Chris's first husband, is getting remarried and that his new wife is pregnant.

DECEPTIVE RELATIONS is very intricately plotted and hard to do justice to in a short review. It feels very parochial in a way revolving as it does around the affairs of the inhabitants of Tipping and its local council. It's well written and the loose ends are tied up though there's not that much about the suicide that begins the book. Chris is a bit of a snob as she comments about a woman 'whose thighs needed planning permission' and a pub frequented by 'men who don't clean under their fingernails' and there is at least one fem-jep scene. It was a very enjoyable listen, as much due to the top notch narration by Juanita McMahon as to the story.

Karen Meek, England
September 2004

Karen blogs at
Euro Crime.

last updated 23/03/2008 20:50