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Cross My Heart and Hope to Die
     

Cross My Heart and Hope to Die

by 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

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Radley's ( Death in the Morning ) latest engrossing English village mystery has a new twist: her redoubtable Chief Inspector Douglas Quantrill and capable Sergeant Hilary Lloyd work mainly at the tale's start and finish, their presence effectively framing the intriguing personal history of a rural postmistress/novelist. Quantrill and Lloyd investigate the disappearance of an elderly couple, Ziggy and Gladys Zrzecszczuksp ok, really , dubbed ``the Crackjaws'' by their neighbors in Byland, Suffolk. After years of regularly cashing pension checks and purchasing provisions, one day Ziggy fails to pick up his usual groceries. Postmistress Janet Thacker comes under suspicion when she insists that she cashed the checks as usual for Ziggy that day, though no one else remembers seeing him. Investigations center on the text of a novel penned by Thacker, the story of a life of disappointment and thwarted talent. But is the novel more than a fiction? Quantrill and Lloyd must find evidence to prove suspicions raised by their reading of a moving portrayal of village life that is anything but charming and cozy. Mystery Guild alternate. (July)
Library Journal
Not so much traditional British procedural as character study, the latest Inspector Quantrill mystery dwells on the psychological motivation of a major suspect in the disappearance of two elderly village inhabitants. As Quantrill and Sergeant Hilary Lloyd reconstruct the last days of the pensioners, they question various locals, but the bulk of what they learn comes from a neighbor's revelatory autobiography, so action is limited. Mainly for series fans.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780684194103
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
Publication date:
07/02/1992
Series:
Quantrill Ser.
Edition description:
1st American ed
Pages:
288

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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