In picking up ”In Place of Fear” by Catriona McPherson, I expected Call The Midwife meets Miss Marple. What I got was a deeply moving, insightful murder mystery story set in post-war Scotland through the eyes of medical almoner at the launch of national health.

Our leading lady is incredibly relatable despite her world being radically different. I love her no-nonsense, care-filled approach as she encourages old and young to make use of the new healthcare services. On her journey around the town, she stumbles across a body and despite asking sensible questions, everyone keeps giving her odd and unbelievable answers. Not easily swayed, she digs deeper and uncovers more and more about the underworld of the city.

Amongst her work and her investigations, there is also her family to deal with. Her husband has shell shock and is uncommunicative with her and her mother is emotionally abusive, her father absent.

There are twists and turns throughout and each character is carefully created to elicit feelings in the reader, it’s beautifully done!

I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is at times brutal and harsh but the mystery is good and there are plenty of good moments throughout. It’s a four out of five on the enJOYment scale and is highly recommended.

I received a complimentary copy of the book from Hodder & Stoughton through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

From the back cover:

Helen leaned close enough to fog the mirror with her breath and whispered, ‘You, my girl, are a qualified medical almoner and at eight o’clock tomorrow morning you will be on the front line of the National Health Service of Scotland.’ Her eyes looked huge and scared. ‘So take a shake to yourself!”

Edinburgh, 1948.
 Helen Crowther leaves a crowded tenement home for her very own office in a doctor’s surgery. Upstartungratefulout of your depth – the words of disapproval come at her from everywhere but she’s determined to take her chance and play her part.

She’s barely begun when she stumbles over a murder and learns that, in this most respectable of cities, no one will fight for justice at the risk of scandal. As Helen resolves to find a killer, she’s propelled into a darker world than she knew existed, hardscrabble as her own can be. Disapproval is the least of her worries now.

is a gripping new historical crime novel that is both enthralling and entertaining, and perfect for fans of AJ Pearce and Nicola Upson.

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