‘Christine Poulson’s wonderful sense of place brings Cambridge to life. Cassie overcomes the problems facing her with wit and guile aplenty and ensures the reader’s empathy from first word to last . . . an enthralling and engaging read that underlines Christine’s burgeoning reputation as a crime novelist to watch.’ [Stage Fright]



Soem time ago (December 2008 and February 2009) I wrote about trying to decide which of my mother’s books to keep after she had died. It wasn’t until this summer that I finally took the last ones to the charity shop. I have kept a fair number, integrating them into my own collection, but accepted at last that I wasn’t going to read – or re-read Sara Woods, Anthony Gilbert, and a few others, much as I had enjoyed them in the past. And then earlier this year my lovely mother-in-law died and so there was another house to clear. My husband went down to Devon to take some last things a week or two ago and I wasn’t able to go with him, so asked him to bring home some things to remind me of her. We shared a love of crime fiction,but that wasn’t really what I wanted (apart from a little World’s Classic edition of Sherlock Holmes short stories). No, what I wanted was DELIA SMITH’S COMPLETE COOKERY COURSE. Nothing special about it, just a paperback copy of dating back to 1992, with slightly old-fashioned recipes that use more butter and cream that we would now. But it reminds me of her and the times I used it myself when I was cooking for her and the family. Avis herself used to make a mean shepherd’s pie and I’ve also got the dish she used to cook in it. These things have a poignant homeliness about them that make them as precious as any heirloom. A book of her’s that I used to covet was Peg Bracken’s I HATE TO HOUSEKEEP and she passed that on to me a few years ago. I’ve written elsewhere about Peg Bracken’s I HATE TO COOK BOOK and this is hugely enjoyable too, with chapter titles like ‘Don’t Just Do Something, Sit There’ and ‘The Hostest with the Leastest.’ As well as being a pioneering woman GP Avis did cook and run a household – very successfully – but she was firmly of the view that those activities should be kept in their place and I agree with her.

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