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  • Barbara Copperthwaite

Review: IN BITTER CHILL, Sarah Ward

In bitter Chill, by Sarah Ward. Review by Barbara Copperthwaite

“A stylish whodunit that is cleverly constructed”


Bampton, Derbyshire, January 1978. Two girls go missing: Rachel Jones returns, Sophie Jenkins is never found. Thirty years later: Sophie Jenkins's mother commits suicide.

Rachel Jones has tried to put the past behind her and move on with her life. But news of the suicide re-opens old wounds and Rachel realises that the only way she can have a future is to finally discover what really happened all those years ago.

This is a story about loss and family secrets, and how often the very darkest secrets are those that are closest to you.


A stylish whodunit that is cleverly constructed to pull you in and keep you reading.

I loved the flashbacks to the original crime, back in 1978. I found myself desperately searching them for clues, in the same way the victim does, and her reasons for them being fuzzy and incomplete was totally realistic. Rachel doesn’t want to be an unreliable narrator, she desperately wants to remember what happened, and solve a mystery dating back to when she was a child.

It did take me a while to warm up to the characters, though, and fully engage with them. I enjoyed the story, so would definitely read another one – it’s well plotted, written, and executed, after all. I’m hoping that as I get to know the detective team more, I will become more invested in them.

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