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Summary

The Sunday Times Crime Book of the Year

Winner of the 2022 CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger

One murder. Fifteen suspects. Can you uncover the truth?

There is a mystery to solve in the sleepy town of Lower Lockwood. It starts with the arrival of two secretive newcomers, and ends with a tragic death. Roderick Tanner QC has assigned law students Charlotte and Femi to the case. Someone has already been sent to prison for murder, but he suspects that they are innocent. And that far darker secrets have yet to be revealed...

Throughout the amateur dramatics society's disastrous staging of All My Sons and the shady charity appeal for a little girl's medical treatment, the murderer hid in plain sight. The evidence is all there, waiting to be found. But will Charlotte and Femi solve the case? Will you?

©2021 Janice Hallett (P)2021 Hachette Audio UK

Critic reviews

"This dazzlingly clever cosy crime novel completely trumps Richard Osman. A modern Agatha Christie." (Sunday Times)

"This is a case you're about to become obsessed with. A triumph." (Alex North)

"Very different but very satisfying. I thoroughly recommend The Appeal." (Elly Griffiths)

What listeners say about The Appeal

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  • G
  • 21-08-21

Different - in a good way !

I read a lot of crime fiction and though I enjoy the books at the time most go in one ear and out the other leaving little or no memory. This was different. The first part of the book is almost entirely transcripts of emails texts etc. Read by the characters who wrote them. I found this very compelling as information is revealed. The story builds to a satisfying climax and ending.
Because of the large number of characters and voices (well done readers !) this feels more like a radio play than an audio book but that is in no way a criticism and I really enjoyed the whole performance. One word of caution, the emails and messages are read in full with To: Subject: Date and Time: and From: for each message. For me this gave the story its distinctive character but I can imagine some readers might get irritated after a while. But if you’d like to try a crime story with a difference I’d certainly recommend this one !

13 people found this helpful

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Maybe even better in print

This is good story and it was performed really well. However, and as a devoted audible fan it’s hard for me to admit, this is probably better done in print.

9 people found this helpful

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Not recommended

Format of this book makes it repetitive and somewhat monotonous. Perhaps easier to read than listen too. Constant headings of emails detract from the storyline. Did not persevere, gave up with seven hours to go.

8 people found this helpful

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mixed feelings

I wish I had read rather than listened to this. it was quite cerebral so to read it would have been more satisfying I think - and some if the narrators were a bit irritating or just hard to listen to, for one reason or another- not a relaxing listen but worthwhile.

5 people found this helpful

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Contemporary and original.


This book has a contemporary and original format well suited to audiobook media. The author's insightful exploration of community, social hierarchy and relationships are intrinsic to the story.

A respected barrister is prepping for an appeal. On his instruction, two pupil lawyers investigate the case through emails, messages and crime documents. The ordinariness of the email and other electronic communications belie the information they contain. The reader is invited to get to know the characters and their relationship dynamics. Being part of the investigative team immerses the reader in the story, which is addictive.

The narrators are excellent, bringing each character to vibrant life. Whilst, there are no physical descriptions of the characters, sensory imagery makes them and the events that unfold easily visualised.

Additional information and a list of characters are divulged to the pupil lawyers. This allows them to focus on the case's pertinent areas and produce a legal analysis of the information to make a viable appeal case. The final revelations reveal the truth with just a hint of mystery to ponder.

This is an engaging and enjoyable audiobook.

4 people found this helpful

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Format probably better read than listened to

I had been very tempted by this book for a while and so when I saw it in the sale and as I was desperately searching for a thriller which delivered instead of the damp squibs I had found myself pre-ordering of late I jumped at the chance to get it.

Sadly the format of emails made the whole thing a cumbersome and laboured listen for me. I did like the style of writing and some of the many narrators but it required a level of concentration I was not up to giving it as my late night listen.

Then the topics of child illness, lack of compassion by dog owner, unlikeable and dull characters all just made it seem too much like hard work. Also it was rather too farfetched to be in any way believable.

Might have watched it as a film as despite depressing topic it did seem to have a few good twists but I just gave up, not for me I am afraid.

3 people found this helpful

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awful

just gave up few chapters in. The email and messages didn't keep my interest at all

3 people found this helpful

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Definitely different

Enjoyed the story. The way it was delivered was initially tedious, but I wanted to see where it was going so persevered. Glad I did. Some clever twists and turns.

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brilliant

Absolutely loved this Audiobook. Really gripping and well read. Can't recommend it enough. thank you

2 people found this helpful

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kept me listening

was hard to keep up with cast at times but thoroughly enjoyed it as I had to concentrate. didn't guess correctly.
performance good

1 person found this helpful

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  • JJ
  • 05-03-22

One to concentrate the mind.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, though was glad I’d also bough the Kindle version so I was able to switch to the written word at times. There are a lot of characters and the format, comprising of emails and WhatsApp messages can be confusing when listening for long periods. I occasionally had to rewind to check who was writing to whom, though the narrators were very good.

The plot only really got complicated near the end when various theories were being tested and it’s here I found the written text handy to refer to.

It was fabulous to read something so different and which gave me something to really concentrate on. I highly recommend it.