OUT NOW – The haunting new crime novel from the bestselling author of One For Sorrow.
On an island with so many secrets, she won’t be…
The seaweed was a grotesque crown – she was a dead beauty queen belonging to the sea.
In search of a new life, seventeen-year-old Adriana Clark’s family moves to the ancient, ocean-battered Isle of Mull, far off the coast of Scotland. Then she goes missing. Faced with hostile locals and indifferent police, her desperate parents turn to private investigator Sadie Levesque.
Sadie is the best at what she does. But when she finds Adriana’s body in a cliffside cave, a seaweed crown carefully arranged on her head, she knows she’s dealing with something she’s never encountered before.
The deeper she digs into the island’s secrets, the closer danger creeps – and the more urgent her quest to find the killer grows. Because what if Adriana is not the last girl to die?
It’s my turn on this fantastic blog tour for The Last Girl to Die by Helen Fields. My thanks to Olivia at MidasPR for the invitation to join and for providing all the fantastic images of Helen Fields visit to the Isle of Mull. As I have already read the book I am delighted to be able to share an extract with you.
Extract from The Last Girl To Die by Helen Fields (p. 222-224)
I took the south westerly road out of Tobermory and headed for the hills. As the houses tailed off, I kept my head down and aimed my feet in the direction of the Tobermory Campsite. There was nothing wrong with it. In fact it boasted hot showers and flushing toilets, facilities I knew l’d be missing twelve hours from now. When I reached it, with a single longing look down its gravel track, I kept going. Early afternoon and the day wasn’t going to get hotter than this. Cloud cover was filtering the weak sun, but it was dry and forecast to remain so for a few days. The roadside was brown grass but further back from the tarmac to the north was dense forest. I kept walking.
An hour later, maintaining a steady pace, I reached the tip of Loch Peallach. There I veered off the road, following a small stream up beyond the tree line, over a barbed wire fence and into the woodland.
From there I was hiking with only my compass to guide me, but a little way in I reached a clearing that suited my purposes.
Constructing a circle of large stones, I made a fire pit then went off to
collect wood. With running water from the stream and enough space to pitch my tent, it was all I could have asked. The low land and tree cover meant that the smoke wouldn’t give my position away easily. Even so, I was planning on keeping it small and only burning for long enough to heat food and water.
Setting up camp cost me a total of two hours, but I realised as I worked that it was the first time l’d felt properly safe since finding the seaweed crown beneath my pillow. Even out in the open, there was something reassuring about the woods. Here, the worst thing I was likely to encounter was the odd adder. The sun was due to set at half past six which gave me a final hour of daylight for cooking. I threw some sausages into a pan with a chopped onion and powdered gravy,
realising just how ravenous I was. Taking the pilfered library book from the rucksack, I settled with my back against a large tree to pass the time until the food was ready.
I flicked through the book from the beginning, not sure what I was looking for. The author had painstakingly researched the history of the island which, given the stone circles, the Viking invasion, and the various kingdoms that had laid claim to it over the years, made it a substantial work. Myths and legends was covered a little over halfway through, and I was amazed at the size of the chapter. Tin plate on my lap, steaming black coffee in my mug, I began to read.
Mackinnon’s Cave came early on. l’d read up on its history whilst looking for places teenagers might be drawn to, but missed the mythical aspects. Deep inside the cave, a large flat stone known as Fingal’s Table was supposed to have been used as an altar. Another legend had it that a piper had entered the cave with a band of explorers to establish the depth of the cavity. A witch, enraged by their entry into the hallowed cave, had slain the explorers but allowed the piper to live so long as he did not cease playing until he reached the light of the rising sun outside. He accepted the challenge and began his return to the cave entrance, but became exhausted and ran out of breath. As he ceased to play, the witch attacked. His broken body was later found at the cave mouth.
Mull had been something of a Mecca for witches over the ages, spawning not just a single legend but endless tales, many mentioning not a single sorceress but a race of them living for century upon century on the isle.
Stomach full, wood smoke heavy in my head, a muddle of information fogged my thoughts -from Rob Clark’s revelations to Catriona Vass’s
memorial service. My eyes began to close and I didn’t fight it. The tree’s broad trunk was comfortable enough and the earth was warm beneath me. A gentle breeze shushed away my attempts to remain awake, and the book fell shut in my lap.
Wow! What a piece. Isn’t the Isle of Mull conjured beautifully into your mind? Then the myths of the Isle fill your imagination. This is yet another fine book from Helen Fields. It’s a fantastic story and, having read it, one I’d definitely recommend. What follows this passage of the book, well really you need to read it yourself. Really you do. You won’t regret it.
What do you think? Need a little more help?
Then don’t forget to check out all the other stops on this amazing BlogTour and I hope this has whetted your appetite sending you straight off to get your own copy. There are a numbers of links below that will point you in the right direction. But most of all I hope you enjoyed this wonderful extract and, like me, enjoy the book.
Published: Avon Books – 1st September 2022
Author: Helen Fields
A former criminal and family law barrister, Helen Fields has the expertise and experience to make the characters and plots scorch with authenticity.
With a background as both a prosecutor and defence cousel, Helen Fields has a depth of knowledge about crime that lends a fierceness to her writing. From Courts Martials to care proceedings, the Coroner Courts to the Crown Court, Fields draws on her professional years for the extraordinary colour and texture that makes her writing jump off the page. Twice long-listed for the McIllvanney Scottish Crime Book of the Year, and a multi-bestselling author whose books have been translated across the globe, Fields consistently produces high impact, compelling novels that readers love. The ‘Perfect’ series, set in Edinburgh, introduced the world to DI Luc Callanach. This year saw the release of Degrees of Guilt, her first psychological thriller in the name HS Chandler, a book as shockingly realistic as it is darkly entertaining.
Isle of Mull – Helen’s visit
Take a look at some of the wonderful photographs of Helen Field’s visit to the Isle of Mull. With thanks to Olivia at MidasPR for providing them.
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