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Book Review: The Appeal

The Appeal by Janice Hallett
This modern Agatha Christie sees 2 law students asked to look into a murder case on appeal. This is a compelling epistolatory crime novel. This was unusual and new. In the small town of Lockwood: 2 newcomers arrive, an amateur dramatics society stages ‘All My Sons’ and a dodgy charity appeal is held. This all leads to a murder and a possible wrongful conviction. There are dark secrets and appalling realisations in this grimly perceptive novel that shows the astonishing and disturbing lengths people will go to to cover up unsavoury truths. This was good.

Best Lines:
“Our accident with the IV.”

“I’ve been either ignored or contradicted.”

“A dumping ground for underperforming staff.”

“Petulant vagueness.”

“At the bottom of the social ladder, ignored or dismissed.”

“Bailed out of life.”

“Fear of falling out of favour with the alpha family.”

“No power or influence.”

“Looks like a scene from Mad Max.”

“Must live in a wonderland where she’s forever centre-stage.”

“Deceitful practices.”

“The alpha family. The social status of everyone depends on being ‘in’ with them.”

“His behaviour was worrying even before the altercation on the lawn.”

“The Haywards are lynchpins of the community. They employ a lot of these people. It makes sense to support them.”

“Coldly dependent.”

“I doubt he’s your friend now.”

“Exist in a state of delusion, remote from the uncomfortable realities that gradually close in.”

“Intensity of commitment.”

“Sinks into awful realisation.”

“Bumbling dolt.”

“Sick and troublesome.”

“A person’s closeness to the alpha family - the Haywards - determines their social status.”

“Inconsolable distress.”

“Simply not high enough up the social ladder to have a voice.”

“Fails to appreciate the long-term consequences of her actions.”

“Whose attitude to her is a best indifferent.”

“Keeping their women in an infantile state of carefree bliss.”

“So intent on doing what they believe is right. Yet both refuse to see what’s wrong. Their solution is to silence the person pointing it out.”

“Would rather continue enabling the deception than challenge it.”

“That situation was not challenged or addressed-”
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