Carolyn McCrae was asked how Second Strand came to be written.

“When I finish writing a book I miss the characters. I wonder if I did them justice and whether there is more to tell. Although the ending to Her Parents’ Daughter was described as ‘surprising and wholly satisfactory’ there were, in my mind, loose ends I wanted to follow up. So there had to be another murder in Yarmouth.”

“So it’s a sequel?”

“Not really. It can be enjoyed and appreciated even if you haven’t read Her Parents’ Daughter, though obviously if you’ve read that you would have more of the picture. Some of the same characters appear and have greater or lesser importance, but the story centres around people not seen in Her Parents’ Daughter. In that sense it is not so much a sequel to it as a development from it.”

“And you’ve pulled in characters from your totally unrelated alternate history novel.”

“Skye and Fergal starred in A Set of Lies, yes, but their success was not the end of their story. They were investigators living and working just a few miles away from the events that were unfolding in Second Strand. It seemed obvious that they would get involved.”

“So you don’t have to have read A Set of Lies either?”

“No. Though obviously, if you want to learn how they got together, and all about their first investigation, then please do!”

What’s it about?

Alex and Teri are on the verge of breaking up after twelve years together when their elderly neighbour is found dying and their plans are put on hold.

Two days later Alex, the police’s only suspect in what is now a murder investigation, disappears without trace. No one believes Teri’s explanation that he left the Isle of Wight to go to the mainland to buy stock for their shop.

While the police investigation is hampered by their assumption that Alex’s disappearance is proof of his guilt, and by unexplained bureaucratic delays, Teri hires two independent investigators to find him and persuade him to return to the island to answer the accusations.

When these investigators learn that Alex is the son of the victim they decide the best way to find him is to learn more about his life since Teri admits to knowing improbably little about her partner. Digging into his background, something they are usually very proficient at doing, they find it remarkably difficult to trace any official records of the existence of either Alex or the victim.

They soon realise that if they are to find Alex, and prove his innocence, they must understand the links between this murder and one, two years before, in the same town; they must unravel the complexities of relationships forged, and betrayals perpetrated, within a group of agents operating in Moscow and Berlin through the Cold War and they must recognize that bitterness, resentment and enmity have been passed between generations for more than half a century.

Published by Troubador January 2017
ISBN: 978-17858988389 (PB)
ISBN: 978-1785897474 (e-Book)

I thoroughly enjoyed this - plenty of action, plenty of mystery, terrific characters and atmosphere... a brilliant piece of writing! (Use this link to see the full review in November 2016 Books Monthly )

Paul Norman,

Carolyn McCrae has cleverly created a tale of mystery that unravels the complexities of relationships forged and betrayals perpetrated through the Cold War. An excellently written, intricately plotted murder mystery that will appeal to all fans of fast-paced and intelligent thrillers.

AG, Leicester

It's a very intelligently written book and explores not only the traditional nuts and bolts of a murder mystery but examines the frailties of human relationships and how things can go wrong without people even noticing. This book is heartily recommended for the mystery novel reader in your life. (Use this link to see the full review from That's Books and Entertainment )

Martin S