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Writers Inspiring Change feature review: Private Lives

Updated: Mar 25

Private Lives: A Bob Robbins Home Front Mystery, by J.G. Harlond, is a classic crime investigatory novel that holds you to the very last page. Set in the early 40’s as World War II rages just beyond the English Channel, detective Bob Robbins is vacationing in rural England when he witnesses something that starts a dissonance ringing in his investigatory mind. Robbins, an old-school detective and nearly of retirement age, is reluctant to take up the scent of a possible murder case, but when he is informed that his vacation is necessarily cut short to pursue the matter, he sets out, hound-dog style, picking up the tiny, yet irreconcilable factors that leads him deep into the murky pit of a small town’s past and present, and the vortex of familial power plays – any one of whom could have had a hand in the disappearance of one man and the shooting of another. J.G. Harlond provides a rich and illustrious backdrop, one that pulls the reader onto the stage of how life was lived back in the 40’s; with attention to detail and colorful language, she paints a canvas that makes the reader feel like they are right there in the charm and pastoral simplicity of an age that seems so distant, and yet, is barely eight decades earlier, a time when there were no digital devices, no internet, where people met over tea and related information face-to-face, and where a crime was investigated by pulling on the strings, one at a time, following the small clues, and where intelligence and assessment were king. This is a well-paced, well-written story, and to be honest, throughout the book, I desperately tried to figure out WHO DID IT, who committed the deed – and to that end, I challenge anyone reading this book to figure it out. I didn’t – and that makes this a true crime mystery to the end.

About J.G. Harlond

Secret agents, skulduggery, crime and romance that cross continents . . . J.G. Harlond (Jane) writes page-turning historical crime fiction. Each story is set against a background of real events, combining intrigue, romance, and downright wickedness. Many of her stories examine aspects of power, showing how decisions made in high places can affect the lives of ordinary people. For many years Jane worked in International Education, she then gave up a safe, successful and enjoyable career to become a full-time author. After travelling widely, she is now settled in rural Andalucía, southern Spain.

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