Lesley Thomson: The Playground Murders

Today I’m pleased to be sharing my review of The Playground Murders as part of the blog tour. It’s written with thanks to Victoria Joss at Head Of Zeus for inviting me on the tour and for my copy of the book.


Forty years ago, in the dark of the playground, two children’s lives were changed for ever.


Stella Darnell is a cleaner. But when she isn’t tackling dust and dirt and restoring order to chaos, Stella solves murders. Her latest case concerns a man convicted of killing his mistress. His daughter thinks he’s innocent, and needs Stella to prove it.


As Stella sifts through piles of evidence and interview suspects, she discovers a link between the recent murder and a famous case from forty years ago: the shocking death of six-year-old Sarah Ferris, killed in the shadows of an empty playground.


Stella knows that dredging up the past can be dangerous. But as she pieces together the tragedy of what happened to Sarah, she is drawn into a story of jealousy, betrayal and the end of innocence. A story that has not yet reached its end…


It’s always a delight to be reunited with Stella Darnell and her partner, Jack Harmon and The Playground Murders is no exception  They make a wonderful team, each working to their strengths and weaknesses, and I had every faith that they would find Rachel Cater’s killer. There’s a slight supernatural layer to the novel with Jack’s interest on True Hosts  which adds to the uniqueness of this series.

The Playground Murders is set across several different timelines, mostly 1980 and the present day. It did take me some time to work out how the past affected the present day events  but once I did, I found the connection a fascinating one that allowed for lots of tension, both between the characters and in terms of the plot. It is clear fairly early in the novel that Stella’s father, Terry, was involved in the original case in 1980 and I love the way he still influences Stella even though he passed away several years ago.

Using Stella’s spreadsheets, which are updated throughout the novel, the reader is able to make their own guesses about what happened to Rachel Cater. I enjoyed the opportunity to do this, but I was very surprised by the outcome. I did not guess who the killer was and I must praise Thomson for being able to keep it hidden.

The Playground Murders is available from Amazon.


You can follow the rest of the tour here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s