Monday 17 September 2018

The Shrouded Path by Sarah Ward @sarahrward1 @FaberBooks Blog Tour @joanna_bri #TheShroudedPath

The past won't stay buried forever.
November, 1957: Six teenage girls walk in the churning Derbyshire mists, the first chills of winter in the air. Their voices carrying across the fields, they follow the old train tracks into the dark tunnel of the Cutting. Only five appear on the other side.
October, 2014: a dying mother, feverishly fixated on a friend from her childhood, makes a plea: 'Find Valerie.' Mina's elderly mother had never discussed her childhood with her daughter before. So who was Valerie? Where does her obsession spring from?
DC Connie Childs, off balance after her last big case, is partnered up with new arrival to Bampton, Peter Dahl. Following up on what seems like a simple natural death, DC Childs' old instincts kick in, pointing her right back to one cold evening in 1957. As Connie starts to broaden her enquiries, the investigation begins to spiral increasingly close to home.

The Shrouded Path by Sarah Ward was published in hardback on 6 September 2018 by Faber Books and is the fourth in the DC Childs series. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review and who asked me to take part on this Blog Tour.

I have so much affection for author Sarah Ward and her lead character DC Connie Childs. Since reading the first instalment; In Bitter Chill, back in 2016, this series has become a favourite. I eagerly await each new book, as they really do get better with each one.

The Shrouded Path is excellent. From that intriguing, dark and spooky first chapter set in 1957, right through the unexpected and so cleverly developed ending; it's a joy to read.

Set in the fictional Derbyshire town of Bampton and featuring characters from the previous novels as well as the new ones who populate this plot, this is a thrilling and complex mystery story.

In 1957, as the story opens on a misty November day, six young girls walk into The Cutting; a tunnel beneath the train track, but only five walk out. The atmosphere created within these few short pages set the scene for the rest of the novel. Sarah Ward excels in creating such a wonderful sense of place, incorporating real places such as Ladybower into her stories. The reader can almost feel the chill seeping through their bones as she brings the Derbyshire countryside vividly to life.

The story hurtles forward to 2017 and Mina, a local gardener is called to her mother's bedside as she takes her final breaths. One of the last things she says to Mina is to 'find Valerie', but Mina has no idea who Valerie is.
The hunt for the mysterious Valerie begins to take over Mina's life, and she soon finds herself mixed up with unsavoury modern-day events, as well as discovering things that have been kept secret for many years.

DC Connie Childs is investigating the unexpected death of a local elderly woman. At first glance this seems to be a pretty straightforward case, until Connie begins to listen to her inner feelings and realises that there are things that just don't add up. Along with new partner; Peter Dahl, she sets out to get to the bottom of what has happened; uncovering very similar deaths that have happened nearby.

Sarah Ward has cleverly interwoven the modern-day story with the mystery from the 1950s and keeps her readers on their toes throughout. The multiple narrators work wonderfully, allowing the full story to be slowly and effortlessly revealed.

Wonderfully atmospheric and so riveting with such a vivid sense of place. Highly recommended.

Sarah Ward is the author of three previous DC Childs mysteries, In Bitter Chill, A Deadly Thaw and A Patient Fury.
On her blog, Crimepieces (, she reviews the best of current crime fiction published around the world, and has also reviewed for various publications.

She is a judge for the Petrona Award for Scandinavian translated crime novels.

She lives in Derbyshire

Follow Sarah on Twitter @sarahrward1

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