The Special Girls by Isabelle Grey

The Blurb On The Back:

A young psychiatrist is found dead in woodland outside a summer camp for young eating disorder patients run by the charismatic, world-renowned Professor Ned Chesham.  DI Grace Fisher investigates, but is soon pulled from the case – to head up a Metropolitan Police review into a cold case involving Chesham himself.

Nearly twenty years earlier, one of Chesham’s patients made allegations that he sexually assaulted her.  The police investigation at the time found no conclusive proof, but Grace soon discovers another victim, and a witness whose account never reached the police.  Does this mean the original investigation was bungled?  Scotland Yard would certainly like her to conclude otherwise.

As Grace uncovers the lies that led to the young doctor’s murder, she discovers the full extent of the damage done to Chesham’s ‘special girls’ and the danger that are still in. 

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

It’s 3 months after SHOT THROUGH THE HEART.  When the body of a young psychiatrist, Tim Merrick, is found in woods near a summer camp where celebrated psychiatrist Professor Ned Chesham had taken a group of girls with eating disorders, DI Grace Fisher and newcomer to the team, DS Blake Langley investigate.

But Fisher has barely gotten started when the Metropolitan Police’s DAC Sharon Marx pulls her off the case and asks her to review a 20-year-old cold case run by Fisher’s old boss, Keith Stalgood and relating to an accusation of sexual assault made against Ned Chesham by a former patient, which wasn’t pursued because without corroborative evidence, the CPS elected not to charge.

Leaving Blake to lead the Merrick investigation, Fisher re-examines the accusation against Chesham and finds a second accuser who was missed the first time around but digging deeper means risking the reputation of a man lauded by the media for his medical work and drawing the ire of the Metropolitan Police who, burned by previous historic sex cases, would rather this just went away …

The third in Isabelle Grey’s DI GRACE FISHER crime series revolves around historical sex crimes but the plot line involving the father of a teenage anorexic treated by Chesham was too soapy for me and the central murder investigation fell by the wayside but Fisher’s an interesting character and I enjoyed her relationship with journalist Ivo enough to read the preceding books.  Although I hadn’t read the earlier books, Grey threads enough information in to be able to understand what’s happened to Fisher and I found her an interesting detective – ethical but made cynical by her experiences with the politics at play in the police force.  Her developing relationship with Blake left me a little cold given how it strays into a slightly contrived romance but her relationship with Ivo has more potential, especially given how Grey acknowledges the problems of when the police get too close to the press and I enjoyed the crusader vibe.  However Clive’s storyline as the parent of a patient of Chesham who slowly realises what’s happened to his daughter rapidly descends into soap opera that for me undermined the seriousness of the crime (especially its ending, which I found tasteless and sensational).  Broadly though there was enough here for me to be interested in checking out the earlier books and reading the next book.

THE SPECIAL GIRLS was released in the United Kingdom on 6th April 2017.  Thanks to the Amazon Vine Programme for the review copy of this book.

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