Cover Detail of The Appeal by Janice Hallett showing a handwritten illustration of a village

The Appeal by Janice Hallett

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5/5)

I saw an interesting debate over on Twitter the other day. A number of people were suggesting that the success of Richard Osman's Thursday Murder Club was down to the author's status as a celebrity. I do think this is rather unfair.

The Thursday Murder Club is very enjoyable, good fun with a very self-deprecating feel to it, much like Richard Osman himself. The book has sold a bucket load of copies, topping the bestseller lists and I believe has made readers out of people, who may not previously have thought of reading a crime novel.

Read my Review of The Thursday Murder Club

Importantly it has also opened doors for other books and authors of a similar theme. Fixing the eye of Thursday Murder Club fans, eager to read similar books.

I am not in any way suggesting that these authors would not have achieved success with their own well-written novels. But the buzz surrounding the Thursday Murder Club certainly helps and I say why not? As a reader you may encounter a real little gem previously buried deep in publisher's monthly lists.

Read my Review of The Marlow Murder Club

I remember the hype around the Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. Readers, their interest piqued by Robert Langdon's adventures in symbolism, were eager to read similar books. Books were actually brought back into print after being out of print for a number of years and enjoyed commercial success again, topping the charts in their own right and earning new fans.

One book, published recently is actually rather marvellous and turns crime fiction writing on its head just as Richard Osman, Lucy Foley or Antony Horowitz have done. I am gladly awarding The Appeal 5⭐️ and Janice Hallett deserves every success for such a brilliant, well thought out novel.

The Plot (from the Back)

There is a mystery to solve in the small town of Lockwood. It starts with the arrival of 2 secretive newcomers and ends with a tragic death. Roderick Tanner QC has assigned law students Charlotte and Femi to the case. Someone has already been sent to prison for the murder, but he suspects they are innocent. And that far darker secrets have yet to be revealed....
Throughout the amateur dramatic society's disastrous staging of All My Sons and shady charity appeal for a little girl's medical treatment, the murderer hides in plain sight. Will Charlotte and Femi solve the case? Will you?

My Thoughts

This is such a well thought out and original novel that turns crime fiction writing on its head. When I consider a crime classic for instance a Miss Marple novel, the pattern usually is; a murder is committed, the investigator interviews a number of suspects connected to the events, motives and timelines are established and the murder is solved.

Janice Hallett has opted for a very different style. We follow the events leading up to the murder in chronological order through a series of emails, leaflets, and transcripts. All the way through we do not know who has been murdered or who went to prison for the crime. Once the evidence has been presented we (along with Charlotte and Femi) are given 5 questions to consider which in themselves provide further clues.

I'm relieved to say the solution is revealed at the end. (Thank heavens!) I was in a cold sweat that the author would not tell us. It is a brilliant experience to go through and I loved this style.

I'm awarding this crime novel 5⭐️. I'm also just going to say this is a contender for my crime book of the year. This is how much I loved it.!

Go out and buy this book immediately! It is awesome!