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Wilful Murder

Book 2 in The Alicia Allen Trilogy

Alicia’s new client, Isabelle Parker, an Australian heiress, instructs her to draw up a Will in contemplation of her marriage.  Isabelle tells Alicia that she believes her brother and grandfather were murdered and after her fiance is killed in an explosion she implores Alicia to investigate.

As devastating revelations about Isabelle’s family history come to light, Alicia realises she is looking for a psychopathic killer guilty of premeditated and wilful murder….

Wilful Murder


 

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In this second volume in her ambitious trilogy Celia Conrad successfully balances continuity of character with formal innovation. While the book can be read on its own without reference to its predecessor, there are rich layers of new characterisation available to those who have already followed Alicia Allen through ‘A Model Murder’. However, with characters now firmly established the author can afford to focus more on plot, and in this respect Ms Conrad turns in a bravura performance setting any number of teasing possible outcomes in motion, and reserving some daring bait-and-switch manoeuvres for the final chapters.

To add to these challenges for much of the novel Alicia Allen is in Australia while many of the key plot developments take place in England; yet so skilfully realistic is the dialogue (texts, email and telephone calls as much as direct conversation) that the pace never slackens. This reader would have welcomed a few more of the delightful touches of humour and generalisations on human nature that ornamented the first book, but that would have delayed the action in this whirlwind scherzo and I suspect the tone and pace may well change once more in the final volume, which I look forward to reading in the new year.

Compliments are also due to the designer whose witty, elegant cover features complement the discreet, cool yet crafty accomplishment expressed within the volume as a whole. Alicia Allen in Australia may seem a cuddly, fluffy, pringle-crunching koala, but when needed she can show both class and claws!

Tim, London, UK

 

Finally we have Celia Conrad’s second “Alicia Allen Investigates” thriller and it was well worth the wait. Once again London solicitor Alicia Allen finds herself drawn into a web of legal, familial, and murderous intrigue. A long-lost friend appears and introduces Alicia to a new client, Isabelle Parker, a young woman with a simple need: prepare her a new will. But wait, this is no simple will and Isabelle has no simple family background, in fact she has no family left, or so she thinks. Suspected murders and then actual murders soon follow and Alicia’s on-again-off-again sort-of-boyfriend Alex warns her to stay well clear of the whole situation. As the story shifts from London to Australia--and an Australian murder--the reader is sent off on new and unexpected directions and is introduced to still more interesting and possibly homicidal characters. “Wilful murder”? Only too true as Alicia herself nearly meets her maker. 

Robert, Minneapolis, USA

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