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Village Art & Literature

Village Book Reviews

Posted on May 18 2011 at 12:09:26 0 comments

The Village reviews two new publications by local authors.

The Hangman’s Fracture
by David Crigman

There is a short section of The Hangman’s Fracture I could not bring myself to read; it is so grisly you wonder what sort of mind could have come up with it.

The Hangman's Fracture

It involves a very warped baddie, a murdered teenager and a frying pan . . . luckily, I was able to get the gist without taking in the details.

Other parts of Lickey QC David Crigman’s fourth novel read more like a Famous Five romp, with the protagonists frequently meeting up to swap information and work out their next moves. One of them is even called George (short for Georgina, of course), but Julian is replaced by the brooding Australian, Cal.

While some of the bad guys are reminiscent of those the Five might have come across at Smugglers’ Top, George and Cal are also up against the Great British Establishment.

This is Crigman’s fourth crime novel and the first not to feature his legally blonde heroine Naomi Nicholas QC. In it, his writing and storytelling take a step forward as his themes range from a corrupt judiciary to the failings of a jury system that doesn’t question the prejudices of its participants.

As a practising barrister involved in high-profile cases, Crigman’s insights into the legal process are fascinating to read, while his day-to-day interaction with some of the most sordid and seedy sides of society are what, one hopes, fuel his ability to produce the sort of descriptions that more sensitive souls flip through quickly.

The Hangman’s Fracture, like the Naomi Nicholas trilogy, powers towards a courtroom denouement, this time taking in events in the South Pacific, Australia and the Nevada desert. It also spans 30 years from the early 1960s, shortly before Britain ended capital punishment, to the 1990s.

George and Cal’s mission to prove the innocence of a man who suffered the fracture referred to in the book’s title doesn’t pause for breath as Crigman peels back, layer by layer, the lies and corruption hidden for three decades. RP

The Hangman’s Fracture can be bought for £9.99 from http://www.librario.com


Memories of the Lickey Hills: Vol 3
Ed. Janey Hewitt

ThIS booklet is the third in a series by Lickey resident Janey Hewitt, who aims to preserve memories of the area by interviewing local people and publishing their stories and anecdotes.

Among the interviewees is Christine Ince, lifelong resident of Rose Cottage, Lickey, who shares the tale of how the cottage was rebuilt by her great grandfather in the days when it belonged to the Plymouth Estate and its alterations in intervening years – there are also stories of a ghost and a secret passage.

More memories are provided by Derek A Gough-Harrison, who recalls the Old Birmingham Road when it was a dirt track traversed by steam wagons, as well as a pyrotechnical disaster in 1935.

Arthur Hobbis remembers helping with the harvest and being self sufficient; the late Jimmy Price discusses childhood in the 1920s; and Jack and Val Goldby of High House Farm share the intriguing discoveries they made when renovating.

Overall it’s an interesting record of a bygone age, which will no doubt prove useful to historians of the future! SO

Available from Monument Books
(0121 453 2310) price £3.50


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