Trace Evidence by Vanessa Robertson

I had not read any books by Vanessa Robertson before, but her work had been recommended to me as novels I would enjoy. This is the second book in a series, but it works perfectly well as a stand-alone novel.

The Blurb

Art crime investigator Kate Carpenter is back in this fast-paced and twisty follow-up to Don’t Blink. This time it’s not a priceless painting that’s disappeared but her childhood best friend.

Beatrice Copley and Kate were best friends all through school and but recently they’ve drifted apart. When Beatrice disappears without trace, her mother hopes Kate might know something.

Kate hasn’t heard from Beatrice for months, but she can’t shrug off the pull of that old friendship and returns to her home town to track her old friend down.

Where is Beatrice and what has she done? What secrets was she so desperate to keep? And will Kate find her in time?

Trace Evidence is the second full-length Kate Carpenter novel.

The Review

Trace Evidence starts at a tangent from the main story and guides the reader to where the author wants them to be. It is a cleverly woven plot that moves seamlessly from South Africa to England and back again. The main characters are tightly written and credible. There is no doubt this book would make for interesting discussions in a book group.

The story starts when Kate, the main protagonist, goes to meet with someone in South Africa who holds a valuable painting that was mis-appropriated by his Nazi grandfather during World War II. When she gets there, with her guards, both the man and the painting have disappeared. Indeed, it seems he has destroyed the painting and left the ruins for Kate to find.

When Kate returns home to the UK she finds her best friend is missing and sets about using the skills she normally uses to find pieces of art to track down her friend.

Trace Evidence is a clever novel that keeps the reader gripped from start to finish. it employs mystery, humour and fear to keep the pages turning. This may be the first book by Vanessa Robertson that I have read, but it will not be the last.

The Author

Vanessa Robertson has lived in Scotland for over twenty years. A former publisher and bookseller, she won the Pitch Perfect event for unpublished writers at the Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival in Stirling in 2015.

Death Will Find Me, a crime novel set in 1920s Edinburgh featuring former spy, Tessa Kilpatrick, was her first novel, and Don’t Blink, the first in a series set in the world of art crime investigator Kate Carpenter will be out in May 2020.

Vanessa lives in a cottage in the middle of a Scottish wood where she’s editing the third Kate Carpenter thriller and researching the next Tessa Kilpatrick 1920s novel.

Val Penny

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