Crime Fiction Alphabet – R is for Reflections

This week my contribution to the Crime Fiction Alphabet will discuss a book I really enjoy by a crime writer I rarely see discussed in crime fiction circles.

Reflections is the third of Jo Bannister’s Brodie Farrell series and was published in 2003. Brodie is a single mum who fairly recently started a new job ‘finding things’. Sometimes she finds an antique or collectible that someone doesn’t have the patience to track down, other times she finds information. The one thing she doesn’t find is people which is due to her disastrous first case (depicted in Echoes of Lies). However in Reflections she is asked to do just that. A man is referred to her by the local Police Superintendent, who also happens to be Brodie’s some-time lover Jack Deacon, to track down a woman. He needs to find the woman because she is the aunt of two girls, Johnny and Em, whose mother has just been murdered by, in all likelihood, their father. Brodie takes on the case and also suggests her friend Daniel Hood as a possible tutor for the girls who had been home-schooled by their mother until her death.

I like the regular characters that Bannister has created for this series as well as the new ones she introduces specifically for this book. While the crime and its investigation are gripping, it’s really seeing how the people interact with each other and trying to work out what’s making them tick that makes this book interesting. Brodie has two equally strong relationships with the two men, Daniel and Jack, though only one is a romantic relationship but the triangle is intriguing. Daniel has been the victim of some rather gruesome torture and while he’s still dealing with the fallout he’s a terrific character of the unlikely hero variety. Due to his own experiences he seems to be the only person who can connect with Johnny and Em as their world falls apart.

Reflections has great characters, a ripping yarn and a rather good twist in the tale. It’s well worth a read.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

There are, so far, 8 other books in the Brodie Farrell series and Bannister has also written several excellent stand-alone novels, a solid police procedural series and two books featuring a crime solving advice columnist. I haven’t read all her books but have always enjoyed the ones I have read.

Bannister lives in Northern Ireland but I can’t recall any of her books being set there, everything I’ve read, including Reflections, has been set in England.

Vale Dick Francis

I was very sad to wake to Monday morning with the news that former jockey and prolific writer of action thrillers Dick Francis has died at the age of 89. When I was growing up the library we used was run by a rather taciturn woman who didn’t really approve of mysteries but she did make an exception for Dick Francis so I was introduced to him at an early age and he has remained a sentimental favourite of mine. I’m confident I’m not alone because when I was younger and did a lot of backpacking and was always scrounging for novels in English to read I could always count on finding a Dick Francis novel even in the most far flung part of the world.

If you want to know a little more about Dick Francis I have featured him several times in my blog’s short life including a post with fun facts about Francis, a review of Silks which he wrote with his son and most recently as my contribution to the Crime Fiction Alphabet for the letter N.

Of course you can find out much more at his website.