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3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5 out of 5 stars
The Detective's Daughter
Format: Kindle Edition|Change

TOP 500 REVIEWERon 2 November 2013
I chose this book because I wanted a crime novel that I would be able to race through fairly quickly, but which would still have a bit more to it than a standard murder mystery. Unfortunately, it didn't entirely meet those criteria. The set-up is intriguing and the main character is refreshingly different from the average heroine, but I didn't find The Detective's Daughter by Lesley Thomson a gripping read.

Stella Darnell is an independent, practical, emotionally rather cold - some might even say hard - woman with a successful contract cleaning business. When her semi-estranged father Terry, a recently-retired police officer, is found dead from a heart attack in an unfamiliar area, Stella begins what is for her the tiresome and irritating task of sorting out his belongings and personal affairs. During this process she discovers that Terry, in his own time, is still secretly investigating a notorious 'cold case' - the murder of a pretty, middle-class young mother, Kate Rokesmith, that took place in 1981. Terry's own house is just a minute or two from the Rokesmiths' former family home; moreover, Stella has a regular cleaning contract at a home in the same street, a home now occupied by an older woman with apparent dementia who was a key witness in the Rokesmith case. Stella, full of repressed guilt and confusion over her fractured relationship with Terry, finds herself attempting to solve the case herself - aided by a mysterious employee, Jack Harmon, whose multiple neuroses and OCD-related disorders are less problematic than his secretive, often duplicitous behaviour.

Stella herself is in some ways brave choice as a main character, and I think one of the strongest aspects of the book. She's selfish, unglamorous, rather joyless, lacks perception when it comes to others' motives, and has no real interests, let alone passions, beyond her cleaning company. That said, Lesley Thomson still manages to make her an interesting anchor for the story and gives her enough depth to make us care about her. Jack Harmon, on the other hand, is pure caricature, as is Stella's handsome dentist and occasional dinner-date, Ivan Challoner.

The narrative is pieced together from sections told from different perspectives and from different periods, which would have worked nicely if it had been less clumsily executed, but for me it simply made the story feel disjointed, as if the writer couldn't find a more cohesive way of combining the different plot strands. Thomson seems to be keen on detail, which is a necessary trait in a crime writer, but here so much of the detail in the descriptions of characters' daily business is simply superfluous that I became swiftly bored. There is also an entire subplot involving Stella's former partner which added nothing to the story but more pages.

I also guessed two big revelations - one being the identity of the murderer - very early on. There are few things more disappointing than the murderer being one of those characters who clearly has no other reason at all be in the book than to be revealed as the killer, and being able to guess the murderer is certainly not something to celebrate in a crime novel.

I could possibly have forgiven some of this book's faults if it had had some pace to it; similarly I could have forgiven the lack of pace if the plot and characters had been more engaging and original. But as it was, this book came to feel like something of a chore.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 6 August 2014
I love reading and have lots of time for it. I bought this novel when it popped up in my Amazon recommendations and I was looking for something to engage my attention having exhausted my Kindle supply. So many new books these days seem to be 'chick lit' or sensationalist or just downright grim.

I am particularly drawn to mysteries and to series (take a bow Ellis Peters, Ruth Rendell, PD James, Dorothy L Sayers, Sue Grafton, Patricia Wentworth I've read and re-read their books) and this book is the first in a set of three (with more to come, I hope).

I like the writer's style and narrative voice(s) and I think the novels are soundly plotted - you can see where they are going but the enjoyment is in the journey itself and the thoughts and responses of the characters. After reading this novel I quickly bought books two and three. Thank you Lesley Thomson for an enjoyable few evenings.
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on 20 June 2017
It has taken me ages to read this as I keep reading a few pages and putting it down for a couple of days. The woman character is a cleaner, but apparently a much better detective than her dad who was in the force for years. She hires a man who lives in other people's houses... And they don't know he is there.... He calls them his hosts....What? He has a full time job so can't he afford his own place? Keeps going back in time then back to the present. I found the dialogue and the sentence structure very hard to follow.

I still haven't finished it. At least no one can call me a quitter. I thought I was on the last chapter, then another one starts going back months from the Fathers point of view.
Don't think I'll carry on with the next ones in the series, thank you.
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on 23 August 2013
(review by Cat, not Phil)

This was put on my Kindle for me, and I'm not a fan of mysteries or murder; so to persevere with the 'clunky' plot was quite a challenge. At one point, I thought Jack might strangle Stella with the scarf, and realised that I wouldn't care if he did. All a bit too 'Cluedo' for me, and I'm sure the plot could have been covered in half the number of pages, as we know who's dunnit by the middle of the book. (At one point, a car passenger, who is being a 'back seat driver' uses her left foot to brake. Surely most drivers use their RIGHT foot to brake?)
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on 31 August 2013
This was a little frustrating to begin with, I found the writing style a bit confusing. However, it is a good tale, and eventually I settled into the manner to enjoy the story. The book encapsulates several differing concepts, a little bit love story woven in with scenes from some of the great Hitchcock films. Laced with almost Dickensian scenes (Miss Haversham is writ large) somehow the author brings it all together and it does work.
I would definitely try another book by the same author, I suspect they will steadily improve and with sensitive editing produce very enjoyable books.
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on 10 June 2017
It took sometime to get into this book but I stuck at it and then enjoyed the story. It was well packed and arrived on time. Thank you.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 25 October 2013
I've started and given up twice on this book as I saw that many people loved it. Maybe it's just me but I was bored by the narrative as it couldn't keep my attention. I kept finding my mind wandering and then wondering who on Earth I was reading about. I did persevere as I don't like to give up on a book just in case it picks up, but after several hours wasted with me not enjoying it I decided to call it a day.
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on 22 October 2013
First novel by Lesley Thomson that I have read, and I found it to be thoroughly
engaging. She has crafted a first rate story, woven around characters with some
quite disturbing traits, and I think her portrayal of O.C.D.is spot on!

Not so much a 'whodunnit', the villain of the piece became apparent to me very
early on, but I really liked the way the story developed.

The book was recommended to me by a friend, and I shall have no hesitation
in passing on my views to other like-minded readers.
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on 24 August 2013
Was looking forward to reading this book. It started well, though, a bit hard to understand Continued reading hoping it would get better .Sorry to say in my opinion it got worse. It was Confused.com. Maybe, Lesley Thomson has written better.
books. I will see if I find one.
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on 17 October 2013
I actually ordered this by accident, whilst browsing for and buying a couple of Leslie THOMAS books !! LOL. But I thoroughly enjoyed it; I was hooked right from the start. The narrative style switching from present day to the past took a few pages in to get used to but persevere, it gets easier and does add to the intrigue.
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