A dead girl.
A wall of silence.
DI Maya Rahman is running out of time.
A headmistress is found strangled in her East London school, her death the result of a brutal and ritualistic act of violence. Found at the scene is a single piece of card, written upon which is an ancient Buddhist precept:
I shall abstain from taking the ungiven.
At first, DI Maya Rahman can’t help but hope this is a tragic but isolated murder. Then, the second body is found.
Faced with a community steeped in secrets and prejudice, Maya must untangle the cryptic messages left at the crime scenes to solve the deadly riddle behind the murders – before the killer takes another victim.
Turn a Blind Eye is the first book in a brand-new series set in East London and starring DI Maya Rahman.
Turn a Blind Eye is the much talked about debut from Vicky Newham.
We follow the murder investigation, into the brutal slaying of the headteacher of Mile End High School. DI Maya Rahman is brought on board to hunt for the killer. She is a former pupil of the school. She knows and is part of the culturally diverse community. She is joined by an Australian sidekick, DS Dan Maguire.
The story sets the scene and introduces DI Maya Rahman. Rahman is from a minority ethnic background, with her roots in Bangladesh. We gradually build up a picture of her, as we glimpse into her early years and see her devastation following a recent bereavement. Much of the story reflects on identity and how we construct our identity. Rahman, we see, is very much creating her own identity as a British Asian. She is using her experiences for the good of others. She is challenging racism and negativity. She is an intriguing and strong character, with a great deal of potential.
What I loved about Turn a Blind Eye was its complete authenticity. Newham depicts life in a secondary school with terrific accuracy. This is not really surprising because Vicky Newham worked as a teacher for many years. She brings her experiences to the book brilliantly and astutely. All of the characters within the school felt very real. The only flaw I can see in the book is the slightly weaker character of the Australian, Dan Maguire. He asks some very stupid questions at the post mortem and when he is out and about. This man is supposed to be a fast track officer, so would be expected to be a little bit more on the ball. I can see that Newham was trying to use him as a device, to explain certain key points.
My verdict is intelligent, bang up to date and very well done. This is a promising start to the series. Vicky Newham is an author to keep an eye on. We need more DI Maya Rahman.