Friday, 6 February 2015

Writing the Town Read by Katharine E. Smith

Reviewer: Barbara Scott Emmett, author of The Land Beyond Goodbye, Don’t Look Down and Delirium: The Rimbaud Delusion. (

What We Thought: Jamie lives in Cornwall and is a reporter for a local newspaper. She has a sexist boss, a boyfriend, Dave, who may not be as faithful as he could be, and a selection of friends and colleagues all of whom are pretty well-drawn characters. On 7th July 2005 she waves Dave off as he heads up to London for employment reasons. The 7th July 2005 was, of course, the day of the London tube bombings.

When she can’t get in touch with Dave, Jamie starts to worry. He would have been travelling to his meetings by tube at around the time of the bombings. Eventually the police call to say there is a man in hospital, badly injured, who was carrying Dave’s wallet. This turns out to be a false lead, however, and Jamie struggles to cope as the months go by and Dave is still missing.

Alongside the main mystery of what has happened to Dave, there run other strands dealing with sexism, newspaper closures, animal rights and the tensions of friendship. All these aspects are well handled, competently written and make for an interesting read.

Though I ultimately enjoyed this novel and would certainly recommend it as an intriguing read, I was almost put off at the beginning by what seemed to me to be too much personal detail before the story got started. I began to think it was an autobiography as it has a very chatty style and not much appeared to be happening other than the thoughts and opinions of the narrator. I felt that most of the first chapter and a lot of the second could have been omitted. I’m glad I stuck with it though, as it was worthwhile in the end.

You’ll enjoy this if you like: Character driven novels, mysteries that may not be satisfactorily solved.

Avoid if you dislike: A chatty, familiar writing style.

Ideal accompaniments: A cup of tea and a cat.

Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Mystery.

Available from Amazon

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