Following retirement, Marigold Darwin returns to her home village determined to purchase a house. She meets two young boys, Mark and Steve, who hang around The Willows, where old Tom Morton lives. His housekeeper Ivy sometimes babysits Mark, although this may be a mistake. Neither boy is in the least concerned about others, regarding casual deception and theft as just part of everyday life. The same is true of their two friends, who have a seriously disturbed mother. Marigold is gradually drawn into the lives of all and becomes aware of serious shortcomings in the parenting of the boys, and some very real fears in a situation where the misdeeds of one generation are easily passed to the next. Tensions mount and in an intricate plot danger looms, with Marigolds own life being placed on the line. The characters in this novel hold secrets and intents which Margaret Yorke reveals with her usual skill and capacity to thrill.
Author biography:Margaret Yorke Born in Surrey, England, to John and Alison Larminie in 1924, Margaret Yorke (Margaret Beda Nicholson) grew up in Dublin before moving back to England in 1937, where the family settled in Hampshire, although she now lives in a small village in Buckinghamshire.
During World War II she saw service in the Women's Royal Naval Service as a driver. In 1945, she married, but it was only to last some ten years, although there were two children; a son and daughter. Her childhood interest in literature was re-enforced by five years living close to Stratford-upon-Avon and she also worked variously as a bookseller and as a librarian in two Oxford Colleges, being the first woman ever to work in that of Christ Church. She is widely travelled and has a particular interest in both Greece and Russia.
Her first novel was published in 1957, but it was not until 1970 that she turned her hand to crime writing. There followed a series of five novels featuring Dr. Patrick Grant, an Oxford don and amateur sleuth, who shares her own love of Shakespeare. More crime and mystery was to follow, and she has written some forty three books in all, but the Grant novels were limited to five as, in her own words, 'authors using a series detective are trapped by their series. It stops some of them from expanding as writers'. She is proud of the fact that many of her novels are essentially about ordinary people who find themselves in extraordinary situations which may threatening, or simply horrific.
It is this facet of her writing that ensures a loyal following amongst readers who inevitably identify with some of the characters and recognise conflicts that may occur in everyday life. Indeed, she states that characters are far more important to her than intricate plots and that when writing 'I dont manipulate the characters, they manipulate me'. Critics have noted that she has a 'marvellous use of language' and she has frequently been cited as an equal to P.D. James and Ruth Rendell.
She is a past chairman of the Crime Writers' Association and in 1999 was awarded the Cartier Diamond Dagger, having already been honoured with the Martin Beck Award from the Swedish Academy of Detection.