This is the third of the Trials of Sarah Newby series by Tim Vicary. Don’t let that put you off. It is a stand-alone book, with ample references to the other two titles without being overly repetitive.
Let me say at the outset that this is a busy book. Lots going on.
This is the story of a strong, dedicated woman lawyer who had a rough start on adulthood, having gotten preggers at 15, and dumped and divorced by the baby’s father when she was 17. She did her best to be a good single mom while finishing her schooling and going to law school. In the book she is a barrister (or is it a solicitor? I’m not clear about the British legal establishment.) She then marries a guy with a bit of a savior complex, has what she thinks is a good marriage for 18 years, and when this book opens, the savior type husband wants a divorce, Sarah, apparently by this point, having no more need of saving.
Meanwhile, at the ol’ law office, she is preparing for an appeal to get her unlikable client out of jail and his conviction dismissed for a murder of a young girl 18 years ago. AND there is a pervert running around bothering women in and around York, AND another woman is found nekked and hanged in her isolated rented farm cottage.
And another meanwhile, she meets a dude who then becomes first a romantic interest and then eerily suspicious.
So we have like three plot lines running through this very detailed book. Some of all that detail is repetitive and tedious, but then, on reflection, so is life, isn’t it. So I found myself hopping over the repetitive conversations where they rehashed the evidence, and skipping the mental munching where she rehashes (a bit too often for my taste) her younger life and decisions. I was like, “I GET it already. Spare me the endless ruminations that don’t move the story along, please. I got stuff to do.”
The romantic interest guy was a property developer and was converting a windmill to a residence for himself. Well, I just loved that idea – how clever! – and the descriptions of the place. However, in order to describe the windmill and its historic uses as a mill to grind flower, it was done as the guy explaining all this to an uninformed Sarah. That was annoying. She is a university-educated woman and doesn’t know how a windmill operates? Pul-eeze. Even I know how a windmill or a watermill operates, and I don’t even live in England and have never seen a windmill. But OK, a small cavil.
I thought the ending was cheesy, frankly. Too facile, too much like he was tired of writing this thing, didn’t quite know what to do with one of the characters, so took the easy way out. Especially in view of how much detail we were given about every other tiny little thing throughout the book.
But despite all my little pissiness, I enjoyed this book very much. I liked how the plot lines all converged as an intricate web. I like intricate webs. Makes you think.