April 1941, Romsey, England.
Josephine ‘Jo’ Fox hasn’t set foot in Romsey in over twenty years. As an illegitimate child, her family – headed by her controlling grandfather – found her an embarrassment. Now, she wants to return to what was once her home and uncover the secret of her parentage. Who was her father and why would her mother never talk about him?
Jo arrives the day after the Luftwaffe have bombed the town. The local pub has been completely destroyed and rescue teams are searching for the remains of the seven people known to have been in the pub at the time the bomb hit. They are shocked, however, to uncover eight bodies instead. The eighth, unidentified, body is that of a teenage girl, who no one in the town claims to know. Who is she, how did she get there, but most importantly – who killed her?
Teaming up with local coroner and old friend, Bram Nash, Jo sets out to establish the identity of the girl and solve the riddle of her death. In doing so, she also uncovers her own personal mystery.
I totally understand why this won the Richard and Judy search for a bestseller, it was immediately involving, beautifully written and a right old page turner.
The historical war setting comes to life, the author uses small insights to set the scene- into this scene comes Josephine Fox, banished after her grandmother died, now back to investigate her parentage. Looking for Dad will be a fraught and emotional journey…
The little titbits about the duties of a coroner at that time really add a lot of colour to proceedings- our title character is a feisty heroine who takes on a man’s job, she is determined and unafraid. The mystery elements are excellent, definitely unpredictable and the whole thing is just fantastic.
I possibly hated Josephine’s grandfather more than any other character in years, I avidly followed along as more and more layers revealed themselves and overall this was a pitch perfect read.