The quiet village of Willowgrove is shocked when one of the residents, Mrs Trevor, is murdered. When someone confesses to the crime, it should be an open and shut case, the only problem being that the ‘culprit’ is Rosie, the victim’s daughter, a young woman with learning difficulties. Flora Morgan, a retired headteacher who knows Rosie, is called in to act as her ‘appropriate adult’, firmly believing that she is innocent of the crime. Why did she confess and why is she lying? Flora must find out who actually did it before Rosie is found guilty of a crime she didn’t commit.
Over the years, there have been many mystery books written where the person investigating the crime has no involvement in the police force, Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, probably being the most famous. This is the case in False Accusations where Flora Morgan’s involvement in the murder of Mrs Trevor comes as a result of her being the ‘appropriate adult’ of Rosie Trevor, a person who safeguards the rights and welfare of a child or vulnerable adult who is being questioned by the police. In books of this genre, the way in which the main protagonist comes across the crime can, at times, seem contrived but I thought that this was a good way of explaining how she could potentially be involved in other cases too.
I liked how, at the start of the book, we were already introduced to the person who had admitted to the crime and the mystery wasn’t so much ‘who done it?’ as ‘how can we prove that she didn’t do it?’ Rosie was a fascinating character whose condition meant that we are never quite sure if she is telling the truth. The author has included several other potential candidates for the true culprit and I was genuinely surprised when the big reveal occurred – it was not someone who was on my radar! I did feel, however, that there were far too many characters in the book and I found myself confused as to who was who, especially when some of them were referred to as characters from Wind in the Willows.
False Accusations is a slow burner but I felt that the ending was quite rushed and Flora’s illness towards the end didn’t really add anything to the plot. This was a shame as I do believe that this could be a good series if some of the problems are ironed out.
With thanks to Caoimhe O’Brien at Sapere Books for my copy of False Accusations.