Cross My Heart and Hope to Dieby Sheila Radley
Ziggy and Gladys Crackjaw, in their late seventies, living in squalid isolation on the outskirts of Byland, a remote East Anglian village, suddenly disappear. Their pension books on the living room mantelpiece, indicative of an intended return, mystify the local police in the persons of Detective Chief Inspector Douglas Quantrill, Head of Breckham Market CID, and his cool and elegant sergeant, Hilary Lloyd.
Do the smears of blood on the floor and iron fender in front of the fireplace indicate domestic violence?
Janet Thacker, the brisk village sub-postmistress, who spent her youth in Byland but who now pretends to know nothing about the Crackjaws and their eight children, is Hilary Lloyd's first target for interrogation.
The extraordinary story of a primitive yet aspiring rural childhood and adolescence emerges from the pages of a 'stolen' manuscript to lead Quantrill and Lloyd to a solution to the mystery of the missing Crackjaws.
In this lucidly written, heartfelt, dual narrative, Sheila Radley has transcended the boundaries of the traditional crime novel to produce a story of poignant, universal appeal.
Meet the Author
Sheila Radley is the pseudonym of Sheila Robinson, who was born and brought up in rural Northamptonshire, one of the fortunate means-tested generation whose further education was free. She went from her village school via high school to London University, where she read history.
She served for nine years as an education officer in the Women's Royal Air Force, then worked variously as a teacher, a clerk in a shoe factory, a civil servant and in advertising. In the 1960s she opted out of conventional work and joined her partner in running a Norfolk village store and post office, where she began writing fiction in her spare time. Her first books, written as Hester Rowan, were three romantic novels; she then took to crime, and wrote 10 crime novels as Sheila Radley.
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