A Conspiracy of Silence by Anna Legat

Thank you to the author, publisher and Rachel’s Random Resources for the digital copy of this book in return for my honest opinion.

Here’s the blurb:

When a body is found in the grounds of a prestigious Wiltshire private school, DI Gillian Marsh takes on the case. The young groundsman, Bradley Watson, has been shot dead, pierced through the heart with an arrow.

As the investigation gathers pace, DI Marsh is frustrated to find the Whalehurst staff and students united in silence. This scandal must not taint their reputation. But when Gillian discovers pictures of missing Whalehurst pupil, fifteen-year-old Rachel Snyder, on Bradley’s dead body – photos taken on the night she disappeared, and he was murdered – the link between the two is undeniable.

But what is Whalehurst refusing to reveal? And does Gillian have what it takes to bring about justice?

Here’s my review:  A Conspiracy of Silence is the fifth book in the Legat’s DI Gillian Marsh series. Discovering a character several books into a series can place the reader at a disadvantage, in my opinion, however I felt the story worked very well as a standalone novel. If anything, it’s a positive as reading it made me wonder at some aspects of DI Marsh’s character so I’d like to read the books in order to find out more about her.

I found DI Marsh quite caustic at times, lacking empathy and I got the impression that’s part of her character’s nature. Her no-nonsense approach certainly seemed to help with getting to key information as she worked to uncover the secrets hidden in Whalehurst’s inner sanctum though.

There were quite a few potential suspects and characters which can be a bug bear of mine, however Legat portrayed them distinctly so that they never blurred together in my mind. Reading the book felt like playing a game of Cluedo (oh, how I loved that game as a child!) with a little snippet of information being revealed at a time by different characters. There were so many lies, half truths and blind alleys that I wasn’t able to guess the outcome. And even then, there were a couple of final surprises in store which I didn’t see coming.

The old boys’ network and elitism portrayed by the obsequious headmaster towards some of his favourite pupils and their rich parents made me love to loathe him and I enjoyed learning more about his background.

I would recommend this book for lovers of Midsomer Murders who enjoy trying to solve a mystery before the big reveal – I failed miserably but enjoyed the challenge!

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.