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Margaret Sanderson
Author, Illustrator
The Purple Dolphin
M.S. Saxon, author

Adult; Mystery/Thriller; (Market)

1960's - 1990's North East England Contemporary women's crime fiction novel following two rival families. The Grimshaws are market traders, the Morettis - known criminals with a grudge. Catherine is left holding things together when brother Steven is incarcerated, her mother becomes mentally ill and her father arranges his own exit. Steven has his own personal war to fight behind bars, while Catherine goes sleuthing to find her missing nephew. Along the way she uncovers hidden family secrets, the chance of a whole new future, and dare she hope, even romance? But it's a rocky path to climb. And just who is her real father?

5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, complex, real and clever

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 20 April 2022

There is something for everyone in this book but particularly those who appreciate a sensitive balance between grit, tragedy and humour (although I'm terribly biased being from South Shields, this is something north east writers such as M.S. Saxon seem uniquely adept at).

The story is complex and well woven together, showing the reality of complicated and diverse relationships in many working class families and communities. The detail in this book paints a vivid picture in every paragraph, the author clearly has an eye for detail as well as skills in language. There is a lot of wit in the characters' dialogue but also a lot of play on words throughout.

Ultimately you get a ride through someone's life, good, bad and ugly, finding out along the way what made her. Lots of pieces of the puzzle are there to find or work out while others are a complete surprise and they all come together perfectly in the end.

Good Reads

I enjoyed reading this debut novel, which was a slight shift from the usual, police driven, crime fiction I usually read. There is crime, but no solving of crimes to do. Instead it’s a well written tale of two, totally different, families, joined by marriage. The author takes us back to a Tyneside of a few decades past, when things were, perhaps, a little different to today, but well remembered by me. There’s a good mix of drama and subtle comedy, with the author displaying a quirky turn of phrase throughout. Overall I would recommend this novel, and would look forward either to a sequel or anything else the author would set before us. (less)