Margaret Murphy, who lives on the Wirral Peninsula in Wales, is the author of six previous novels: Goodnight, My Angel; The Desire of the Moth; Caging the Tiger, Past Reason, Dying Embers, and Darkness Falls.
In Darkness Falls (2004), Murphy tells the harrowing story of the kidnap and rape of British barrister Clara Pascal, a brilliant criminal lawyer. Now, in Weaving Shadows, Murphy writes a murder mystery in which Pascal, suffering from claustrophobia, terrifying dreams, waves of nausea, and panic attacks, struggles to reenter the quotidian world destroyed by her abduction.
Set in the town of Chester, Cheshire, Wales, Weaving Shadows tells the story of Pascal's defense of Ian Clemence, who is accused of the brutal murder of Amy Dennis. Clemence has only recently been released from prison, after serving 12 years for the murder of his girlfriend, Vicky Rees. All the evidence in the Amy Dennis murder case points against Clemence, who is the perfect fall guy for a set-up.
Michaela "Mitch" O'Connor has been trying to help Pascal resume her life as a lawyer by feeding her cases that are less threatening than murder trials, such as a child custody case in which Pascal represents Chris and Diane Tobin.
More and more, however, Pascal becomes involved in the Ian Clemence case, and slowly becomes convinced that Clemence is innocent--that he has been framed by someone involved in a criminal conspiracy in the Dee View Development Project, a multi-million pound development.
One is not surprised that Pascal, by doggedly pursuing clues to establish Clemence's innocence, puts her own life at risk. The irrational dark threatens to engulf Pascal, as in the damp cellar of her confinement, One is surprised, however, when the identity of Amy Dennis' killer is revealed. The author caught me completely off guard.
A suspenseful legal thriller, Weaving Shadows is skillfully plotted, with a frisson of nervous energy and mounting tension. Murphy also is convincing in her description of interpersonal relationships, such as that between Clara Pascal and her husband Hugo and their daughter Pippa. Clara's neurotic condition following in the wake of her kidnapping and rape have not been easy of the Pascal family.
One criticism is in order. This book has a large amount of "Britishisms" that are annoying. Before this book was published in the United States, a translator was needed to change "British English" into "American English." Although one can usually tell from the context what these words mean, their oddity will be distracting to American readers.