Simon Barrett via www.armadillomagazine.co.uk
Mum had been dead for a year. Edie, withdrawn, struggles to sleep, suffering nightmares regularly. Her younger brother Eli closes his eyes and runs up the flight of stairs to avoid seeing the family photographs. Their dad turns to drink and turns up the volume on the television so his children do not hear him crying. Edie is therefore bewildered when she finds a note from mum in her jacket. Mum’s death was not accidental. It was murder.
The Five Clues is a tense murder mystery. Edie’s Mum, a successful human rights lawyer, fearful of her death, left a trail of five clues. Edie finds the first clue, but must work out the answer to reveal where she can find the next clue and so on, undercovering as she goes, her mum’s final case: a corporate human rights abuse in Vietnam by a UK medical research company. Despite her mum’s death, Edie seems unconcerned about her own safety and naively makes herself a person of interest, hunted by a man with a facial scar. Obsessed at first with solving the clues, Edie alienates and isolates herself further from her best friend and family, before realising this is something she must do with the help of others.
The five clues are a great device, creating tension as it takes time for Edie to work out each one. Each one is linked to memories of her mum. Edie also takes the initiative to conduct further research, willing to take risks to gain access to possible witnesses under false pretences and break-in to a CCTV control room. Unbeknown to Edie, the stakes are high, and an ex-SAS hitman is on the payroll to do a company’s dirty work of discouraging Edie’s pursuit of justice. There is also the potential of a global public health threat, which Edie is exposed to.
The story is a thrilling David versus Goliath battle, threatening to engulf Edie and her family, and like her mum, one that will silence her forever. It is only her tenacity and courage that keeps her fighting to uncover the truth and allow her to confront her pain and sorrow.