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by Natasha Cooper
Pocket Books, June 2005
352 pages
ISBN: 0743496027

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

This is a paperback reprint of Natasha Cooper's first book starring Trish Maguire, first published in 1998. I read it then and I have enjoyed reading it again. Preceding the appearance of barrister Trish Maguire as leading character the author wrote several volumes in a more light-hearted key about Willow King who makes a fleeting farewell appearance in this book.

Trish is now the veteran of seven books with GAGGED AND BOUND as the most recently published in paperback. This first appearance as heroine showed Trish as a character on the edge -- a female barrister who had been forced, by her sex, to specialise in child abuse cases and, at the point of collapse, was offered the opportunity to write a book on child abuse. Even though the subject remained highly fraught she was able to step back a little from the harsh realities that had brought her very near to breakdown.

The appalling reality of CREEPING IVY is the disappearance of Charlotte, the four-year-old daughter of Trish's cousin, Antonia Weblock, from a London playground. Sympathetic to the sufferings of the high-flying City worker, Antonia, Trish offers as much comfort as she can to the distraught mother.

Trish also calls in the aid of various friends -- Emma, who does a skilled test on the veracity of Charlotte's nanny; Willow, who investigates the nanny's qualifications and George, who puts his legal skills at Trish's service. The skill of the author lies in her ability to articulate the effects of such a horrible situation on someone who is well aware of the treatment of children who disappear in this way.

The police investigation is crosscut with the efforts of Trish to discover what has happened to Charlotte by talking to people involved with the child and her parent. Perhaps not surprisingly her interventions result in police suspicions about her own motives and potential involvement.

Natasha Cooper moved to a different aspect of crime writing with this book and has made an enormous success of it. Trish is a sympathetic character fighting her own demons from the past -- indeed past childhood experiences and their effect on the adult form an interesting background to this whole tale.

Reviewed by Jennifer S. Palmer, July 2005

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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