In Deathly Affair, Leigh Russell’s latest procedural, protagonist Geraldine Steel takes her thirteenth bow, but it’s a Geraldine who, while somewhat shaken, is stirred enough to fight the good fight.

A demotion from DI to DS and a move to York see Geraldine working with DI Ian Peterson again. Her change in circumstances doesn’t impact on her desire to stand up for the disenfranchised and disempowered though – in this case the homeless who are being targeted by an unknown, extremely calculating killer. As the deaths rack up, Geraldine not only has to face her own colleagues’ indifference towards these crimes, but that of the world at large, too.

Russell shines a spotlight on some serious issues plaguing our society – homelessness, disenfranchisement, indifference, among them – subjects that are particularly poignant on this day of the UK election, when our futures hang in the balance, and a mirror is being held up to who we are, what we do, what we value, our behaviours, our mores. Our very humanity. And that’s what good crime-fiction should do: reflect what’s going on in the outer world, even if we don’t particularly like what we see staring back. That’s what publishers like No Exit Press do through their books – and do so very beautifully.

Deathly Affair is a good read. It’s fast-paced and well-written and, although in series, it can be read as a standalone.

Another job well done, Ms Russell.



Leigh Russell | Deathly Affair | No Exit Press | 12 December 2019 | paperback original | £8.99 | ebook available

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Acknowledgements: Happy publication day! Many thanks to Anne Cater, as always, and to the publisher for sending a review copy and jacket image. All opinions are our own. All rights reserved. This review is published as part of the virtual book tour. Please check out the other reviews on the tour.

See also: ‘Leigh Russell’s Geraldine Steel’; ‘Ghoster’; Carver’s Nothing Important Happened Today’; ‘By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept’; ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised‘; ‘We should all be feminists‘; The not-so-invisible woman: 150 greats in their own words’;Permission by Saskia Vogel‘; ‘Lisa Ko’s The Leavers, Dialogue’s brilliant debut; ‘RW Kwon’s The Incendiaries’; ‘How Penguin learned to fly – Allen Lane and the Original “Penguin Ten”‘; Dorothy L. Sayer’s Busman’s Holiday – Romek Marber for Penguin Crime (book covers we love).

Select Q&As/interviews: Amanda Saint‘;‘Ausma Zehanat Khan’; Mary Balogh‘; ‘Louise Voss’; ‘Lilja Sigurðardóttir’; ’Tom Cox’; ‘Vanda Symon; ‘Gunnar Staalesen’; Some like it hot – the joy of Carole Mortimer, award-winning novelist


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