Friday, 22 August 2008

The Watchful Eye

I’ve talked before in this blog about Priscilla Masters, who is both a friend of mine and a reliable writer, whose books deserve to be better known. We are both published by Allison & Busby, and the arrival of Cilla’s latest novel, The Watchful Eye, is a reminder of how many of the writers whose work I enjoy happen to be published by the same company – it’s quite a list, including the likes of Harry Keating, Robert Barnard, Judith Cutler, June Thomson, Edward Marston, Jonathan Gash to name but a few.

This is Cilla Masters’ fifteenth crime novel – she has published approximately one a year since making her debut with Winding Up the Serpent (a book now much sought after by collectors, and commanding hefty prices on the second hand market.) She also wrote a single charming children’s book before turning to crime.

Cilla is one of very few British crime novelists who has had a long career in the medical profession and she makes consistently effective use of the knowledge gained from years of nursing when writing her books.

The Watchful Eye is a good example. The central character is a doctor called Daniel Gregson, whose frustrations with the work of a general practitioner are all too believable. He frets about poor communications with hospitals which look after his patients: ‘In his years of working for the National Health Service he had learnt that government intervention invariably made things worse.’

Daniel’s marriage has broken down and he doesn’t have much luck. A variety of elements, including the death of a small child, a complaint by a patient that he has been guilty of misconduct and ultimately a horrific threat to his life are juggled by Cilla Masters with her customary skill, but although the plot is sound, the stand-out features of the book is the sympathetic portrayal of a man under pressure – very well done.

(Incidentally, I'm conscious that I haven't included any photos to relieve the prose of my posts for a while. As usual, I blame pressure of work. But I shall share some pictures with you over the holiday weekend.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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