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A Deadly Thaw    by Sarah Ward order for
Deadly Thaw
by Sarah Ward
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2016 (2016)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

A Deadly Thaw follows In Bitter Chill as the second in Sarah Ward's police procedural series starring Inspector Francis Sadler and his colleagues (DC Connie Childs and DS Damian Palmer) in Derbyshire, England.

Mystery surrounds Lena Grey who pleaded guilty and has now served her sentence for smothering her husband in their bed. But then, a few months after her release and reunion with her sister Kat (a therapist), said husband's corpse is found (newly murdered) in Hale's End morgue, an abandoned First World War mortuary. Who killed him; who did Lena originally kill; how was the body wrongly identified, and where had the supposedly dead man been all this time?

Before the police can seriously question Lena, she disappears from sight and we follow events from the point of view of Kat and the investigating officers. Kat tracks down a holiday cottage in Whitby where Lena used to spend a great deal of time. At the same time, she's getting more involved than she should be with her client Mark, who was severely abused as a child. And a boy, 'a friend of Lena's', shows up to deliver a horrifying package. Mark helps her as she, in turn, tries to help her sister.

There's more violence, and further clues apparently sent by Lena as police and Kat pursue parallel investigations that eventually lead to the dark truth of past events - and the poor way the police dealt with them at the time. Its unusual premise makes A Deadly Thaw an intriguing mystery read.

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