There is a mystery to solve in the small town of Lockwood. It starts with the arrival of two secretive newcomers, and ends with a tragic death. Roderick Tanner QC has assigned law students Charlotte and Femi to the case. Someone has already been sent to prison for murder, but he suspects that they are innocent. And that far darker secrets have yet to be revealed…
Throughout the amateur dramatics society’s disastrous staging of All My Sons and the shady charity appeal for a little girl’s medical treatment, the murderer hid in plain sight. Will Charlotte and Femi solve the case? Will you?
Very popular on social media, I was lucky enough to win a copy of The Appeal in a giveaway on Twitter, knowing little about it I was intrigued by comments such as, ‘happy sleuthing’, I delved deeper and realised this novel is written predominantly in the format of correspondence and along with the 2 law students, I, as the reader would be reviewing the information and attempting to solve the case.
Now I love books with varied written content; emails, texts and newspaper articles really serve to create a dynamic read for me so it was no surprise that I adored this book. The legal case is being reviewed pending appeal and the book starts with Roderick Tanner QC emailing law students Charlotte and Femi the file of correspondence, they know nothing else and begin reviewing the information.
Set in the tight community of the amateur dramatic group who are together working on their forthcoming production. The granddaughter of the group’s chairperson is diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer and the group pull together to raise funds for expensive treatment which can only be sourced from America, the show must go on and the group remain cohesive in their quest to continue with the production.
We have access to numerous emails which together build a comprehensive picture of events, although interestingly it is not until someway through the book that we discover who has been killed, even later we learn about the appeal and who may be wrongly incarcerated.
This book worked incredibly well, as mentioned, the format I loved and I flew through the pages, devouring this book in less than a day. I found myself completely absorbed and focussed on the storyline. Did I solve the case? Hmm, probably not but aspects of it I had worked out, although the author does provide some skilful clues along the way, some of which I missed.
An incredibly gripping novel, similar in style to one of my favourite books of last year, True Crime Story by Joseph Knox (read my review here) and I am in no doubt that I will be recommending this one widely in similar fashion.
The Twyford Code is out now and already I am seeing it across social media, needless to say I am keen to get my hands on a copy, I may be late to the party for The Appeal but I am determined to be quicker to read Janice Hallett’s new book.
About the Author
Janice Hallett studied English at UCL, and spent several years as a magazine editor, winning two awards for journalism. She then worked in government communications for the Cabinet Office, Home Office and Department for International Development. After gaining an MA in Screenwriting at Royal Holloway, she co-wrote the feature film Retreat and went on to write the Shakespearean stage comedy NetherBard, as well as a number of other plays for London’s new-writing theatres. The Appeal is inspired by her lifelong interest in amateur dramatics. Her second novel, The Twyford Code, was published by Viper in January 2022. When not indulging her passion for global adventure travel, she is based in West London.