04/06/2014

Our Day Will Come (by Sally Quilford)

Sally Quilford is quite a prolific writer of novellas, many of them published as 'pocket reads' connected with magazines in the UK. She has made them all available inexpensively for the Kindle, and from time to time offers various titles free. This is one that I downloaded on special offer over a year ago, but have only just finished reading.

'Our day will come' is part of a series of mid-20th century mysteries set in the fictional village of Midchester. This one is set in 1944, a little earlier than the other two I had previously read, and is somewhat lighter in tone. It begins with the strange disappearance of stockings from people's washing lines, right under their noses. Nobody likes to make an official report, in case it's just someone playing a joke.

Betty, the pub landlord's daughter, gets into conversation with the elderly Peg who keeps an eye on everyone and is reputed to have been quite a sleuth in her younger days. Peg thinks someone should investigate these thefts and take them rather more seriously, as they seem to be increasing.

There are some recuperating American airmen in a hospital nearby, one of whom finds Betty very attractive. She likes him too, but feels obligated to stay faithful to the memory of Eddie, her best friend from childhood, who asked her to wait for him before he went off to war. He has been missing in action for a couple of years but his parents are convinced he is still alive...

There are several other threads, nicely intertwined in this short book. I thought I would read a chapter each day over breakfast, but several times found myself continuing to read, as I enjoyed it very much. Sally Quilford has quite a gift of characterisation, bringing her people to life so realistically that several of them got right under my skin. There's a large cast; along with a variety of subplots it could have been confusing, but somehow wasn't. The background of a small village during World War II is nicely painted, too, introducing a bit of social history without making me feel as if I were being educated.

I was expecting something of a whodunit, although it's not my preferred genre; however, this book is more of a light romance in a historical context. The stocking mystery (and related incidents later on) is referred to several times through the book, but the investigation is minimal, and the solution when it comes is a bit of an anticlimax. I had not guessed who the perpetrator was, but by that stage it had almost become an irrelevance. Not that it mattered - I was so much more interested in the various relationships in the book.

The ending was nicely predictable; I was only sorry it finished so quickly.

Recommended as a light character-based read, but don't expect an Agatha Christie style mystery.

'Our day will come' is available inexpensively in Kindle form on both sides of the Atlantic. Paperback editions, however, are hard to find and second-hand editions sell at high prices in the UK, even higher in the US.

Review by copyright 2014 Sue's Book Reviews

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