by Sharon Bolton
Florence Lovelady’s career was made when she convicted coffin-maker Larry Glassbrook of a series of child murders 30 years ago. Like something from our worst nightmares the victims were buried…ALIVE.
Larry confessed to the crimes; it was an open and shut case. But now he’s dead, and events from the past start to repeat themselves.
Did she get it wrong all those years ago?
Or is there something much darker at play?
In 1999, police officer Florence Lovelady attends the funeral of Larry Glassbrook, a convicted murderer that she arrested 30 years earlier. He kidnapped his victims, burying them alive along with an effigy of themselves. On her return to the house Florence fnds something that suggests all was not as it seemed in 1969. Now Florence needs to know if she got it wrong all those years ago.
Rewind 30 years to a young WPC Lovelady. An educated young lady from the south, working as part of a Lancashire police force steeped in sexism. Cheap taunts plague her daily, eating into her confidence. But as children go missing she realises that her ideas and detective work are a lot better than the men who look down on her.
When there is another abduction, Florence feels there is a greater evil at work. Interviewing the townsfolk, Florence hears tales of withcraft and unexplained mysteries and sees that she is up against something that she may not be able to understand.
If there is one thing you are guaranteed reading a Sharon Bolton novel, it is a strong sense of place and The Craftsman is no exception: Lancashire is given its own character and moodily plays it so well.
As a Lancashire lass growing up hearing the stories of the Pendle witches, I was totally immersed in this dark, creepy tale of crime mixed with the supernatural, of characters hewn from the Lancashire hills and mired in Lancashire legends: perfect for this book.
I think this is Sharon Bolton’s best book so far: dark, oppressive and totally believable. Suspenseful storytelling from an author at the top of her game. I am looking forward to the next episode already.
Cannot recommend highly enough.