cover image Innocent Victims

Innocent Victims

Minette Walters. Grove/Atlantic/Mysterious, $22 (240p) ISBN 978-0-8021-2612-2

Fans of Edgar-winner Walter will welcome this collection of two previously published novellas. The poignant Chickenfeed, based on an infamous 1924 murder case in East Sussex, charts the tragic course of the courtship of Norman Thorne, a city boy trying to make a go of an ill-conceived chicken farm, and the mentally unstable young woman determined to marry him, Elsie Cameron. The Tinder Box, a compelling tale of prejudice and gossip set in 1999, opens with the trial of Patrick O’Riordan, a 35-year-old unemployed Irish laborer, for the brutal murder of a 93-year-old woman and her nurse in an English village where the Irish are despised. Though the evidence against Patrick is overwhelming, his crippled mother persuades fellow Irishwoman Siobhan Lavenham to help exonerate her son. Siobhan discovers plenty about the victims, the O’Riordan family, and the escalating threats to the O’Riordans before everything falls into place to produce a shockingly different picture than expected. Agent: Jane Gregory, Gregory & Company. (July)