‘The Judge At Saint Jane’s’ by Lis Howell


It’s a glorious autumn evening in Tarnfield when Deborah Arbiter falls to her death.

What was she doing on the roof of her old Georgian country house, St Jane’s?

People think Deborah was up there inspecting a leak. But Suzy Spencer doesn’t believe the seventy-year-old was doing DIY.

Deborah gave up a glittering career in law to start a women’s refuge in her beautiful family home.

Then when one of Suzy’s friends disappears, she uncovers a shocking connection to Deborah and St Jane’s.

One woman falls to her death at St Jane’s. One woman never arrives.

Can Suzy Spencer get to the bottom of these sinister goings-on before anyone else pays the ultimate price?

My Review

I have a little confession to make.  Although I have the first three books in the Suzy Spencer series on my ever increasing ‘to be read’ mountain, I haven’t actually read one yet.  I know what a mistake to make.  When I was invited to take part in the blog tour for ‘The Judge At Saint Jane’s’, which is the fourth book in the Suzy Spencer series, I knew that this was the kick up the bottom that I needed to ‘meet’ Suzy and to get to know the area and the other regular characters.  Having enjoyed reading ‘The Judge At Saint Jane’s’ as much as I did, I am now rather cross with myself that I left it this long to ‘discover’ Suzy Spencer.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘The Judge At Saint Jane’s’ but more about that in a bit.

It took me no time at all to get into ‘The Judge At Saint Jane’s’.  In fact the synopsis was enough to grab my attention and the story drew me in.  As soon as I started reading, I had an inkling that I wouldn’t be able to put this book down for any length of time.  I was intrigued by the descriptions of the village and by the different characters and I had to keep reading to find out how the different strands to this story impacted on certain characters.  This was one of those books that really got under my skin as it were- if I wasn’t reading the book then I was thinking about it.  I think part of the reason, why I became so addicted to the story was the fact that I also live in a village similar to the one in the story so I was comparing that village with the one where I live.  The pages of the book turned increasingly quickly as I made my way through the book as my desperation to find out what happened grew and grew.  At one point the pages were turning that quickly that it was almost as if they were turning themselves and the page numbers became a blur.  All too quickly I reached the end of ‘The Judge At Saint Jane’s’ and I had to say goodbye to Suzy and the rest.   I found ‘The Judge At Saint Jane’s’ to be a gripping read, which kept me guessing and which kept me on the edge of my seat.

‘The Judge At Saint Jane’s’ is superbly written.  Lis has one of those writing styles that is easy to get used to and easy to get along with.  In fact I didn’t feel as though I was reading a book because the text reads more like a chat between friends than reading an actual book.  For me, the story hits the ground running and maintained a steady pace throughout.  Lis clearly cares about her characters and this shines through in the very thorough way in which she describes them.  Lis describes the characters so well that they seem to leap off the page and seem just as real as you and I.  I love the way in which Lis makes the reader feel as though they are part of the story and at the heart of the action.  That’s how I felt anyway.

In short, I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘The Judge At Saint Jane’s’ and I would recommend it to other readers.  I will certainly be reading more of Lis’s work in the future.  The score on the Ginger Book Geek board is a very well deserved 5* out of 5*.

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