The aftermath of an English summer storm reveals a grotesque secret that had been held for years. As mud and water cascade through the twin villages of Germans and Whyncombe St Giles they unearth the human remains of Melanie Staples, an eleven-year-old schoolgirl who had been lost to her parents for over a decade.
This compelling read provides a wealth of rich characters – a withdrawn stonemason, a church-goer with a hidden fetish, a Sri Lankan student who has never felt quite part of the village, and a vicar prone to keeping secrets. But are any of them capable of murder? As a second schoolgirl goes missing on the same day as Melanie’s body appears, police resources begin to stretch and we glimpse the darker side of Oxfordshire life, as the great and the good of the village close ranks.
TITLE: The Subtle Thief of Youth
AUTHOR: DJ Wiseman
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What a rare delight, DJ Wiseman is a very talented writer, and this novel is incredibly well-written . . . Read the full review by Peter Calver in Lost Cousins
In DJ Wiseman’s second crime novel set in Oxfordshire, death disturbs a sleepy Cotswold village . . .Read the full review by Helen Ward in Oxford Daily Info
DJ Wiseman’s second novel, appearing so quickly after his first confirms his position as an important emerging author. In “A Habit of Dying” (2nd edition published by Askance) he masterfully drew readers into the world of family historian Lydia Silverstream – and despite calls to write a sequel, the author has resisted. Instead he has unleashed a complex story with a fresh array of characters who equally compel the reader. “The Subtle Thief of Youth” offers far more than a hint of untimely death this time and a filthy flood reveals not only a dead girl – but a first class writer. Askance is delighted to have the opportunity of sharing this work. Caroline Jaine, author and founder of Askance
In “The Subtle Thief Of Youth”, D.J.Wiseman has woven the dark threads of mystery, intrigue and suspense, into a colourful fabric of the finest quality. The insecurities and consciences of the residents of the two villages – twinned by location not desire, fester and bubble; hidden for years, until exposed by a freak of nature and the unrelenting prodding and poking of a diligent young constable. As surely as the great deluge stripped away the landscape of the Parish, the secrets of the villagers are peeled back and exposed, revealing the painful raw truth of the past. This beautifully layered tale will transport the reader into the very heart and soul of Germans and Whyncombe St. Giles. – Simon Humphreys, author
The setting for DJ Wiseman’s latest novel is twin villages in the English countryside near Oxford where one might expect decent behavior and benign weather. This is not the case with “The Subtle Thief of Youth”. The weather gets under your clothes and the residents of Whyncombe St. Giles and Germans get under your hat. “The Subtle Thief of Youth” is exciting for me – it’s a wet and wild beginning and the excitement is maintained not so much by the fast pace but by a relentless probing into the dangerous mixture of self interest and self-righteousness in the villages. Be prepared to let your regular daily tasks slip by; it’s hard to put this book down. – Alex MacLeod, author