Friday, 5 December 2008

Forgotten Book - Loving Geordie

My latest entry in Patti Abbott's series of Forgotten Books is Loving Geordie by Andrea Badenoch. I set out below my original review, which appeared at the time of publication in 2002 , followed by a few present day thoughts.

'So soon after the Soham case and the discovery of Milly Dowler’s body, it is unusually difficult to read a book which has at its core the deaths of two young girls – in this case Muriel and Maureen Robson, the 13 year old ‘Angel Twins’, daughters of a local councillor. Andrea Badenoch is, however, a highly skilled writer and she treats the delicate subject matter and her characters with sensitivity and insight. As with her last novel, Blink, she has chosen to locate her story in the past – 1960 – and to have a teenager as a protagonist, in this case Leslie, whose younger brother Geordie falls under suspicion of killing the girls. This is a highly evocative novel, enhanced by a Dansette soundtrack including the likes of Shirley Bassey and the Shadows. Corruption in local government plays a part in the story – indeed, the legendary T. Dan Smith is one of the characters. A depressing reflection is that, 40 years on, child murders continue to occur, as often as serious political chicanery. In her ability to cast light on the darker places of the human psyche, Andrea Badenoch has established herself as one of our most notable crime novelists and this book confirms that reputation.'

Six years on, I'm sorry to say that Andrea's reputation did not develop further. At the time the book came out, she appeared to have recovered from cancer, but the disease returned and she died in 2004, so Loving Geordie was both her fourth and last book. I knew Andrea through the Crime Writers' Association and liked her a lot. She was a writer of quality who definitely does not deserve to be forgotten.


pattinase (abbott) said...

This sounds like a great novel, Martin. Thanks for remembering it.

David Cranmer said...

I will add her to my list of authors to read.

crimeficreader said...

Sadly, I am still to get around to reading her final novel. I think she truly established herself with Blink, which is a fine novel.

I have fond memories of Andrea Badenoch from when I met her on an Arvon course in 1999. She made an excellent and encouraging teacher too.

Blink is also excellent and I recommend it.

Thanks for the reminder on another novel I have not yet read, Martin. I will have to dig it out in 2009 and read it.