Author: Anne Pettigrew
Publisher: Ringwood Publishing
Available: 1st August 2020 – Paperback and Digital formats
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/3hGmFOF
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2EQdPit
Ringwood Publishing: https://bit.ly/2EQCMe0
Thank you to Emma Welton at Damp Pebbles Blog Tours and Ringwood Publishing for my gifted eBook and for having me on the blog tour for this book. My review is based on my experience of the book and any thoughts expressed here are solely mine alone.
In a leafy Glasgow suburb, Dr Beth Semple is busy juggling motherhood and full-time GP work in the 90s NHS. But her life becomes even more problematic when she notices some odd deaths in her neighbourhood. Though Beth believes the stories don’t add up, the authorities remain stubbornly unconvinced.
Soon, Beth’s professional reputation is challenged. There follows a chilling campaign of harassment and she finds her professional reputation – and her family – are put at risk.
Is a charming local GP actually a serial killer? Can Beth piece together the jigsaw of perplexing fatalities and perhaps save lives? And as events accelerate towards a dramatic conclusion, will the police intervene in time?
From the author of Not the Life Imagined, this slow-burning tartan noir novel from a Bloody Scotland Crime Spotlight author follows Beth on another quest for justice. Reflecting Pettigrew’s own medical expertise, Not The Deaths Imagined re-affirms the benefits of growing up in a loving family and the need for friends in hard times, while offering insight into the twisted development of a psychopathic mind.
This is the second instalment in the Beth Semple Series and although I haven’t been fortunate to read the first book just yet, this oversight did not detract from my enjoyment of this book or its storyline. I confess this book has a soft spot in my crime reader’s heart, it is my first foray in the realms of ‘Tartan Noir’.
My interest in this book was piqued because of my own Scottish connection (my partner is a proud Scottish/American currently residing in Kilmarnock, a stone’s throw from Glasgow). And because of the Covid-19 situation we have been apart for 8 months (thank goodness for facetime) and when I read this book, it was his voice I could hear imparting the splendid specifically Scottish patois…prepare for the dawn of the potato scone folks…Anne knows, of what I refer to!
This book has its own very distinct identity, which I can only describe as a contemporary marriage of the style of Agatha Christie because of its superb details and fantastic cast of victims and villains combined with the laconic humour, charm and body count of the TV series Midsummer Murders. Anne has also used her own wide and professional experience as a medical professional to provide substance and compelling details to her multi-faceted plot. This is definitely a series you want to add to your crime collections.
The story opens without our protagonist Dr Beth Semple, going about her daily life as a GP and mother of teenage daughters and all the hectic elements this life suggests but a routine Monday morning appointment for sleeping tablets with a quiet, dazed and reticent woman known only as Mary Truscott becomes the catalyst for a vortex of ominous events.
A series of unusual occurrences unfold, starting with Beth being asked to sign off a death certificate under less than optimal circumstances, a Psychiatric Conference in Edinburgh where a former nemesis of Beth and her friends, rears his unwelcome head; dubious drug trials, a spate of unfounded allocations about prescription/drug selling, a formal investigation aimed at Beth, poison pen letters, silent phone calls, slashed car tyres and series of seemingly predicable deaths of predominately elderly single or widowed wealthy women.
With little obvious or tangible evidence of nefarious practices, Beth documents details of these victims in her book of unexplained curiosities to see if she can pin point what exactly is going on! I shall also mention, at the demise of the ‘victims’ a certain Dr David Goodman, turns up just in time to issue a death certificate, remove old medications, take care of contacting the family and even more off colour is the number of times the deceased seem to have left the ‘good’ Doctor a bequest, a painting or a financial gift…are you suspicious, you should be, Beth is!
One of the aspects I thoroughly enjoyed about the construction of this story was the axis of villains, Anne has created and what a vipers nest they are!!! The most malevolent of the three is the vain, pompous, avaricious and misogynistic Dr Goodman whose diabolical and depraved actions are in my mind similar to those of the heinous serial killer Harold Shipman!
Throughout the book, we see the devious and murderous actions Dr David Goodman undertakes and the forgery, blackmail and deception he uses to cover his tracks! Anne does not hide the fact (so this doesn’t count as a spoiler in any way) that this character is responsible for multiple deaths but the underlying reasons for his barbarous behaviour (other than being a psychopath) is utterly intriguing and you are compelled to get to the bottom of his thought processes! As is the subtle tension you feel for the duration of the novel, because as a reader, you are constantly (along with Beth) trying to figure out, how to catch him or how to prove what he’s being doing…gruesome and gripping stuff!!!
In true classic crime novel style, this sensational story twists and turns towards a thrilling crescendo and I have no intention of giving any clues away about how the crimes are uncovered, the murder unmasked or how this story ends. You have no option but to buy the books and find out for yourselves and I promise you, it will be worth the wait. I am now a big fan of this series and can’t wait to find out what Beth gets involved with next.
Happy Reading Bookophiles…
About the Author:
Anne Pettigrew: A graduate of Glasgow (Medicine) and Wolfson College, Oxford (Anthropology), Anne Pettigrew has been a GP, worked in psychiatry, family planning/sexual health, lecturing, patient/women doctors pressure groups, BMA Media relations, Homeopathy, acupuncture, an EEC Committee, book reviewing and journalism (medico-political and humorous articles to The Herald, Doctor newspaper etc: a Channel 4 Despatches).
Retiring from practice, she became a wedding planner for a charity theatre, before starting Creative Writing classes and mentoring at Glasgow University. She is now a member of Garnethill critical writer’s forum and has won short story and article trophies in Greenock Writer’s Club.
Not the life Imagined was runner up in the Scottish Association of Writers’ Constable Silver Stag Award 2018. The book was originally called No Sinecure, a title abandoned as no one under 35 in any class or group she joined knew what ‘sinecure’ meant (though some suggested it was apt, the book featuring ‘sin’ in those who ‘cure!’) Two more books are underway. Anne has two grown up children and lives with her husband in North Ayrshire.