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The Mystery Writer

Price: £7.99£14.99


Hardback, Paperback

Author Jessica Mann
Rights World
ISBN 9780749080129
Pages 288
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From the bestselling author of Out of Harm’s Way, this utterly compelling novel blends fact and fiction, past and present to make for a tantalising read that both haunts and intrigues. 


1940: SS The City of Benares is carrying child evacuees to safety from wartime Britain, among them two boys from Cornwall: Jonathan, son of the owner of the manor house Goonzoyle, and Ted Johns, the gardener’s boy. In mid-Atlantic an enemy torpedo strikes, the ship sinks and the long list of lost children includes Ted Johns, while Jonathan survives.

1951: Jonathan returns to Cornwall where his only surviving relations are the Polhearnes. Young Rosina Polhearne has made friends with 13 year old Delia who is vacationing at a nearby caravan site, until Delia’s stepmother disappears without trace, her father is suspected of murder, and the two girls lose touch.

2003: At home in Cornwall, Jessica Mann is researching her book about the wartime evacuation of children, Out Of Harm’s Way. She meets Ted John’s sister Connie, who has bought the derelict Goonzoyle, to discuss the Benares disaster. When human bones are found in its grounds: the remains of two women, it gradually it becomes clear that beneath the events of that fateful night on the Atlantic lie half a century’s worth of secrets, lies and crimes.

As hidden motives and buried emotions are unearthed, past and present collide…



What The Critics Said

'This in an enthralling read, mixing fact and fiction seamless to create a spellbinding novel which wil have you racing to read the final pages'

People's Friend (Book Club Choice)

'A warm, pleasurable read'

The Times

‘Skilful “Faction”...bracingly realistic...The essence of Jessica Mann’s tale feels true, and it’s a gripping read.’

Susanna Yager

'Utterly compelling, The Mystery Writer is a tantalising read that both haunts and intrigues’

'An intriguing, interwoven story of a wartime evacuation and its aftermath, cleverly bridging the class divide between past and present, and exploiting wartime confusion to create a haunting yet dramatic whole...It is a very intense story, extremely realistic, that keeps you riveted all the way through until the tension is ultimately released in a spectacular finale'

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