Blessed Are The Cracked This interconnected collection of five novellas and two short stories from the casebook of retired local policeman Tegwyn Prydderch, is set in the fictional West Wales farming community of Llanefa.
These are not ''comfortable'' tales and Llanefa is no ''chocolate box'' Welsh village. Author Delphine Richards worked as a cop in rural Wales for a number of years and one can only assume that she brought her experience of real crime and real police work to the pages of this book.
From the prologue we learn that DCI Tegwyn Prydderch has retired from the force and is being urged to while away his retirement years writing his memoirs. Forced to convalesce after a hip replacement operation Tegwyn finally succumbs. As he ponders his old case files he wonders how best to put them to literary use:-
"If only the people themselves could tell the story, he thinks, a ''warts and all'' account of how it all came to be. Now, there would be a book worth buying!"
In each of the tales which follow we are treated to precisely such an account. These stories are not ''whodunnits'' but rather a blow by blow account of events as they occurred, told from the perspective of the victim or perpetrator.
In the opening tale ‘ Donald’s Cat’ , a home help becomes trapped in an abandoned explosives container while searching for a missing cat. Her fear of suffocation and dehydration are graphically described as she battles to preserve her sanity in her pitch black surroundings. She fixates on recent traumatic events and unfinished business that she has left behind outside the metal frame which confines her. Despite this claustrophobic setting the story is a masterful and fast paced thriller with an unexpected twist in it''s tail.
If you are an afficionado of the ''grittier'' school of crime writing then there is much in the pages of Delphine Richards for you to savour. Welcome to the seamier side of life in rural Wales. I for one am looking forward to the next offering from the Welsh Elmore Leonard.
About Delphine Richards
Cambria Books website:- "An experienced writer in several formats from magazine articles, short stories, to a weekly newspaper column, Delphine Richards’s new work draws on her real life experience as a member of the Welsh Police in rural Wales. In these dark tales, she brings to fictional life a new, uniquely Welsh, policeman character, Tegwyn Prydderch, from whose grisly casebook and early memories these stories are drawn."