Thank you to Sophie Ransom for a copy of this book for me to review, all opinions are my own and not influenced in any way.
I could recall all too clearly where I was standing when a policeman told me that my wife had been murdered.
Bill Russell is acting as a volunteer steward at Warwick races when he confronts his worst nightmare – the violent death of his much-loved wife. But worse is to come when he is accused of killing her and is then hounded mercilessly by the media. His life begins to unravel completely as he loses his job and his home. Even his best friends turn against him, believing him guilty of the heinous crime in spite of the lack of compelling evidence.
Bill sets out to clear his name but finds that proving one’s innocence is not easy – one has to find the true culprit, and Bill believes he knows who it is. But will he be believed?
And can he prove it before he becomes another victim of the murderer?
WHO DO YOU BELIEVE?
I remember reading a book a few years ago by the late Dick Francis, so was looking forward to reading this book by Felix, Dick’s son.
I was absolutely gripped from the opening page, I felt for Bill Russell or to give him his full title which he doesn’t use The Honourable William Gordon-Russell as the police approach him to say his wife Amelia is dead, there was no compassion about the way they said it, I felt it was a very harsh way that they approached him, no asking is there somewhere private we can go. So immediately everyone believed that he was the killer, Bill automatically assumed she had killed herself initially as she had attempted it before and had had depression for years. So for him to then be told she had been murdered he was devastated. The hook was there pulling you in.
Of course in this day and age we all know that the first person to be questioned in a murder case is the husband, wife, partner as 99% of these crimes are by someone the victim knew. But why did the police go in so heavy handed. Joe Bradbury was Bill’s brother in law, apparently he had found the body that morning, and had accused Bill straight away, it seemed the police believed him completely, they didn’t seem to be looking for anyone else. After all Joe was a High Court Enforcement officer why would he lie? It was also his sister so he wouldn’t harm her.
Once the news hit the headlines Bill was guilty, everyone he thought of as a friend or colleague believed him to be guilty. How awful must that be? After all what happened to innocent until proven guilty? Not only had Bill lost his wife but he lost his work, his volunteer work as a Steward at the Racecourses, people he didn’t even know were staring at him. How do you deal with that, even more so if you are innocent.
Bill had been away the night before in Birmingham, he had stayed at a hotel as he was attending a dinner function and had stayed so that he could have a drink. Now he wished he had taken his wife with him, or he should have driven home. The only two people who believed him innocent was Nancy and Dave, who lived across the road, the two couples had frequently dined together, they knew how much George had loved Amelia. Nancy had seen Amelia the night before, she was also able to give George some information that helped him to try and look into what had happened. Because Joe had claimed Amelia had called him, but Joe, Amelia and George didn’t get on, he had sent some nasty emails over the previous 2 years, which had caused a lot of upset.
This is a well plotted crime story, I devoured it within a day, unable to put the book down. As George did his own investigation convinced that Joe had murdered Amelia but how could he prove it when the police believed every word Joe said. No one was listening to him. Until….
Things change, finally the police start listening a little more, but then George feels he is in danger, is he? After his car is run off the road and George is badly injured will anything start going his way?
If you love a good crime read, police procedural then I would highly recommend a copy of this book. Totally believable, there have been cases on the news before where the police are adamant it’s someone and have a blinkered view, then something comes up that points to another person. One example is actually given in the book, it’s true the person was hounded by the media and press with photos sprawled across the front of all the newspapers but the person was innocent. How do you deal with that kind of pressure, as people always think there is no smoke without fire.
This is a book full of suspense, three dimensional characters, absolutely engrossing and engaging. Definitely a read I would recommend to crime lovers everywhere. With some court drama thrown in.
I loved the ending, as we learn of the outcomes and one thing I had wondered throughout. But what do you do then?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Felix Francis studied Physics and Electronics at London University and then spent seventeen years teaching Advanced-Level Physics. The younger son of crime writer and National Hunt jockey Dick Francis, Felix assisted his father with both research and writing of his novels in a father-and-son writing partnership. Since Dick’s death, Felix has written fourteen successful novels. The Felix Francis & Dick Francis novels combined have sold over 80 million copies worldwide in 40 languages.
When researching Guilty Not Guilty, Felix spent time visiting the public galleries of the Crown Courts in Oxford and London where he saw a lot of courtroom drama played out in reality. All this went into Guilty Not Guilty.