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Chris High reviews  the Christine Poulson book - Footfall.

FOOTFALL

Christine Poulson

Publisher: Robert Hale
ISBN: 0709080409
April, 2006

 
Front cover of the book by Christine Poulson: Footfall

FOOTFALL
Written by
CHRISTINE POULSON


The third outing for Christine Poulson’s academic, Cassandra James, is one of those rare gems that comes to the reviewer out of the blue. Constantly engaging, Footfall has enough twists to shame a cobra and enough craft to fill a Hobby’s ‘R’ Us megastore and more.

 


Snow is falling. An old woman reads alone in bed. There is the sound of breaking glass and footsteps on the stairs.Cambridge academic Cassandra James is shocked when her friend, Una, is found dead. It looks like a burglary gone wrong, but as more details emerge Cass begins to wonder. Why did Una try to ring her in the moments before she died? Why did she change her will and deprive the Cambridge Literary and Philosophical Institute of her library of Victorian literature? And that's not all that's troubling Cass.
In all honesty, I am guilty of pre-judging. The setting of beautiful, dreamy university cities being plagued with foul crimes, solved by ardent amateurs or stern professionals is a bit old hat, surely? In Christine Poulson’s hands, not in the slightest and this first experience of her work will certainly not be the last.

Cassandra James is beautifully drawn, with enough zip and guile about her to warm the heart of any sceptic, as the story fairly rips along, defying the reader to put the book down so that once it is completed, it is hard not to pick it up again and begin reading from scratch.

The strongest element is Christine Poulson’s grip on her character’s sense of place. Cambridge, the musty old city of study halls and colleges, comes alive without once over burdening the story with unnecessary adjectives or hyperbole.
The dialogue, an important keystone to any good read, is natural, well placed and, above all, intensely credible, as Cassie overcomes the problems facing her with wit and guile aplenty.

If there is a downside, it is in Cass needing to constantly prove to her academic peers that, as an expert in Victorian Literature, she is every bit as good as they are and in so doing, leads the reader a little astray on occasions. This though is a minor quibble.
Overall, Footfall is an excellent story with enough drama and mystery to keep any lover of British crime enthralled from word one, line one and Christine Poulson should be heralded as the fine entrant to the world of crime fiction she most certainly is.
8/10

www.christinepoulson.co.uk

Order this book online - Linghams Booksellers

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