Review: In Place of Fear by Catriona McPherson

Description (from cover): Helen leaned close enough to fog the mirror with her breath and whispered, ‘You, my girl, are a qualified medical almoner and at eight o’clock tomorrow morning you will be on the front line of the National Health Service of Scotland.’ Her eyes looked huge and scared. So take a shake to yourself!'”

Edinburgh, 1948. Helen Crowther leaves a crowded tenement home for her very own office in a doctor’s surgery. Upstart, ungrateful, out of your depth – the words of disapproval come at her from everywhere but she’s determined to take her chance and play her part.

She’s barely begun when she stumbles over a murder and learns that, in this most respectable of cities, no one will fight for justice at the risk of scandal. As Helen resolves to find a killer, she’s propelled into a darker world than she knew existed, hardscrabble as he own can be. Disapproval is the least of her worries now.”

My Thoughts:

Helen Crowther is from the slums of Edinburgh, Scotland in 1948 and has to deal with the wrath of her family and the others of her peers when she becomes a medical almoner for a doctor’s office. Since Scotland has now joined the National Health Service the poor of Edinburgh are skeptical about how the new medial system will work. Helen is determined to do the best she can at her job and on her first day she is filled with pride. All is well until she returns to her new home at the end of the work day to find a dead body in the building behind her home. She immediately recognizes the murder victim and sets out to determine why someone would want to kill this young lady. When it appears that the local police and government officials are engaged in a cover up, Helen cannot let things be and she sets out on a course to seek justice for the victim.

I enjoyed this book and while I don’t think the author plans to make it a series, I would be thrilled if she went on to write other books about Helen. I will say that it was hard to understand some of the words being said as the author used Scottish slang in her story. Of course, due to this being an advanced reader’s copy, I noticed at the end there was a glossary of Scottish slang to help the reader understand what is being said. Which is helpful of course, just wish I would have seen it at the beginning instead of the end of the book as that would have been so helpful. I am hoping that the final print version will do this for readers as it will really go along way.

I read this book pretty quickly as it was hard to put down. There was a shocking twist at the end, and I am curious to see how that would play out if the author continued the series. This book has a lot of potential to be a historical mystery series that readers will come to love. A fantastic read for lovers of historical mysteries that is a little different from the norm as it features Scotland in the late 1940’s after World War II and how Scotland was trying to differentiate itself from England and make its own way in the new world. Loved this book and have my fingers crossed for more in the future.

Overall Rating: 4 stars

Author: Catriona McPherson

Series: N/A

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Publication Date: April 14, 2022

Pages: 337

Genre: Historical Mystery

Get It: Amazon

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the publisher, through NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review. I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

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