The standalone novel from the critically-acclaimed Peter Lovesey. Rough Cider was nominated for an Edgar Award.
It is World War II and American soldiers stationed in rural England have made friends, especially with the local girls. After a dance to celebrate the pressing of the apples into cider, the resentment of the local men leads to violence and a murder. Later, a baby girl is born.
Years later, Theo, a university lecturer, is approached by an American girl called Alice. She wants to be told about her father, a GI hanged for murder in Somerset during World War II. As a boy, Theo had been a principal witness for the prosecution.
Alice persuades him to revisit the farm where Theo was evacuated, staunchly determined to discover the facts. The horrors of the past take on a frightening immediacy when long-forgotten jealousies come to the surface and another murder is committed.
It's tremendously good. There are a fair number of good crime novels 'you can't put down'; but there are very few you feel you want to stop reading because their people are so real and you dread the disasters you foresee for them - HRF Keating, The Times
The title is provocative but it does little to prepare the reader for a shock event of startling originality. Original the novel certainly is, leaving the reader dry-mouthed. But with no desire for cider as a thirst-quencher - Ruth Rendell
This is a Russian Doll of a book, one secret concealed inside another, one fact leading to another, just the way a whodunit ought to be, but so often is not. It is neatly constructed and written in a quickfire prose style which adds considerably to its appeal - The Financial Times