Foul Play: a DI Ambrose Mystery
"I loved it. Foul Play is deeply informed by a knowledge of legal practice and a keen grasp of human nature."
Teresa Rosen Peacock, Member of the New York and London Bar.
There are also some excellent reviews by readers of Foul Play on Stairwell Books Amazon site. Do have a look.
Poison Pen: A DI Ambrose Mystery
"Crisp writing and a strong sense of people, place and atmosphere make this book both a class act and a gripping read. For devotees of PJ Quinn's detective, DI Ambrose, first introduced in Foul Play, this will be an enjoyable reunion, while for new readers it should prove a delightful discovery. A writing and painting course set in a decaying old house, whose owners are desperate to keep it going, is the setting for the latest mystery which DI Ambrose endeavours to solve. The participants provide a splendid cast of suspects when unexpected illness and death start to occur. Is there a poisoner among the aspiring authors and artists assembled at Chalk Heath Hall and if so why ... and who is it? You have to find out!"
Mary Sheepshanks, novelist and poet (Mary Nickson)
Close Disharmony: a DI Ambrose Mystery
The (detailed analysis) review of Close Disharmony: the Law Society Gazette 24.11.14
The policeman’s beat can be strewn with obstacles, especially in a murder inquiry, as detective inspector Paul Ambrose discovers in Close Disharmony. But Ambrose’s investigation of the Calzone Singers, who are residing in the Shalimar Hotel, is hindered more by smoke and mirrors rather than physical barriers. Jealousies, petty disputes, and identity crises pepper the pages, as in the previous two Ambrose mysteries by PJ Quinn.
Ambrose, acutely aware that he has nothing with which to charge a host of suspects, resolves reluctantly to hand over the case to Uttley CID. But with razor-sharp instincts and an intuitive understanding of the criminal mind, he is not one to give up easily and the story reaches a satisfying denouement, arguably the best of the series.
All this is a far cry from the exciting opening scene when Ambrose – away from his natural element of rooms in which to quiz suspects – has to think fast. It is an innovative way of introducing the large cast of the Calzone Singers who are performing a concert at Chalk Heath Theatre.
Ensconced in the Shalimar, the singers are caught up in jewellery thefts but events soon take a more sinister turn. ‘This is going to ruin us,’ laments the aptly named Audrey Tempest. And the pressure on Ambrose to produce results reaches boiling point. With WPC Pauline Meadows performing undercover as one of the singers, ‘people noticed everything you did’, reflects Ambrose on life in a small town.
This strain has much to do with identity and secrets. Is Anton Gdansk really Polish? Should Meadows reveal to the other singers her real job? Are Mr and Mrs Gibbs, who have lived in the hotel for eight years, the harmless old couple they appear? And who is the identity of the killer? Is it a random slaying perpetrated by someone from outside?
None of the answers are obvious. Yet in a novel shorn of the legal know-how evident in Foul Play and Poison Pen, the narrative has much more tension and characterisation. I especially liked the epistolary chapter later on. The best Ambrose mystery yet.
Nicholas Goodman is a Gazette sub-editor
Author: PJ Quinn Stairwell Books, £9.50
You can purchase Close Disharmony here:
Dancing Through Wood & Time
Bernard M Jackson 'Quantum Leap' no 51 August 2010:
"By any yardstick, this sparkling collection of poems exceeds the bounds of normal expectations....Pauline has decisively shown that poetry can readily become a living force"
Envying the Wild
Alan J Carter 'Quantum Leap' No 43 Autumn 2008:
"Pauline Kirk's poetry made be stop and think; it touched me deeply and brought my emotions to the surface again and again."
You can purchase all these books via my on-line bookshop