Trace Evidence by Vanessa Robertson

The excellent Scottish based crime writer, Vanessa Robertson generously notified her followers that amazon had reduced the price of her novel, Trace Evidence, so I cheekily grabbed a copy. I'm glad I did.


The Blurb


A missing woman. A life full of secrets. A friend in a desperate search.Art crime investigator Kate Carpenter is back in this fast-paced and twisty follow-up to Don't Blink, but this time it's an old schoolfriend she's searching for, not a priceless painting. Although Kate and Beatrice were best friends, life has taken them in different directions since university.


When Beatrica disappears without trace, her mother hopes Kate might know something. Kate has no idea where to start looking but she can't shrug off the pull of old loyalties and returns to her home town to try and track Beatrice down.Finding her should be simple. Easier than tracking down lost paintings, at any rate. And there are similarities - whether it's Beatrice or a stolen Monet, Kate's just looking at the fragments left behind to see what they can tell her. But Beatrice had a life full of secrets and took steps to make sure she wasn't found.


Can Kate unravel the few clues she does have and can she find Beatrice in time?

The Review


I read a lot of crime fiction, it is my favourite genre. However, it was a while since I had read anything by Vanessa Robertson, so I was pleased to secure a copy of her novel, Trace Evidence while Amazon had it on sale.


The novel features Robertson's signature main character, Kate Carpenter back with her on/off romantic interest Pete. That is a most satisfying sub-plot to the story which sees Kate returning for Edinburgh to her family home in the Midlands.


Her close friend Beatrice has disappeared without notifying anybody of her intention to go anywhere. At first, Kate wonders if Beatrice has just gone on holiday and forgotten to inform her family. However, she did not have leave of absence from her work either and when Kate goes to her friend's home she finds it incredibly neat and tidy for someone who is just on a break.


Kate fears her friend has been abducted by a manipulative boyfriendand finds a mobile phone which allows her to start a search. Beatrice's mother is worried about her because her daughter's disappearance is completely out of character and she is depending on Kate to find Beatrice. She is convinced Kate can do this because she has a successful career finding lost or stolen paintings. Kate finds that searching for inanimate objects is quite different from seeking a humanbeing.


She looks for help from mutual friends from their schooldays, Beatrice's family and also from her work. It is a great surprise to Kate when Pete, who has realised how stressed she is, arrives back in the UK unexpectedly. He has rented an apartment near her family home and introduces himself to her family before she even realises he is there.


His help and support are critical to Kate and just having him around makes everything easier.


Although I read many crime fiction books, I did not see the ending comeing in this novel and will not ruin it for you by writing any spoilers. I do highly recommend Trace Evidence by Vanessa Robertson and, if you like crime fiction, I'm sure you'll enjoy it.


The Author


I grew up in the Midlands where my main interests were horses and drama. Being a writer was a dream from childhood but I gave up on the idea of writing when I was a teenager, not long after I abandoned other childhood ambitions of being a trapeze artiste or a spy. After acquiring a couple of degrees and trying various ‘proper jobs’, I realised that I am fundamentally unsuited to office politics, bad coffee, and wearing tights.


My husband and I founded The Edinburgh Bookshop, winner of many awards. Bookselling is a wonderful profession and a good bookshop is a source of pure joy to me. I love independent bookshops and the amazing job they do in championing reading, supporting authors, and building communities. But, after a few years, it was time for a change and we sold the bookshop to make way for other projects.


I took the opportunity to start writing again and was a winner at Bloody Scotland’s Pitch Perfect event for unpublished authors in 2015. It was a fantastic opportunity and getting such positive feedback about my ideas gave me the push I needed to take my writing seriously.

I live in rural Fife with my family and a ridiculously large dog. I can usually be found walking on windy Scottish beaches, browsing in bookshops, or tapping away on my laptop in one of the cafes near my home.

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