Eric Reed The Guardian Stones

ISBN 13: 9781464205019

The Guardian Stones

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9781464205019: The Guardian Stones
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1941 Britain: Children are vanishing from the village. Is it the powers of an ancient stone circle at work, or a modern predator?



In mid-1941, children evacuated to the remote Shropshire village of Noddweir to escape the Blitz begin to vanish. It was not uncommon for city children faced with rural rigors to run away. But when retired American professor Edwin Carpenter, pursuing his study of standing stones, visits the village and discovers bloody clothing in the forest, it is clear there is a more sinister explanation.



The village constable is away on military duty so the investigation falls to his daughter Grace. Some villagers see the hand of German infiltrators bent on terror. The superstitious, mindful of the prehistoric stone circle gazing down on Noddweir, are convinced malevolent supernatural powers are at work. And Edwin, determined to help Grace find whatever predator is in play, runs into widespread resentment over America's refusal to enter the war.



This atmospheric mystery will appeal to readers of Rennie Airth, Maureen Jennings, and both Ann Cleeves and Ann Granger.

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About the Author:

Mary Reed and Eric Mayer are the coauthors of eleven books in the John, the Lord Chamberlain series, set in 6th century Byzantium, as well as The Guardian Stones, the first title published under the pseudonym Eric Reed.

Review:

3.5 stars...Eric Reed's' The Guardian Stones was not what I expected from Poisoned Pen Press, a publisher I associate with standard mystery series centered on a single detective. In The Guardian Stones, the "detectives," if I can call them that, are Edwin Carpenter, an American professor who has inexplicably decided to go to England in the middle of World War II to investigate the titular stones (think Stonehenge on a much smaller scale), and Grace, a resident of the village those stones "guard." A series of disappearances and other crimes has followed the arrival of several children who have been evacuated from Birmingham to the village as part of Operation Pied Piper, which was intended to protect England's urban children from bombing attacks(view spoiler)....I found the clashing interactions between the street-tough children and their resentful (though mostly well-intentioned) hosts to be one of the most emotionally engaging aspects of the book. I also enjoyed the way in which Reed teases the reader with a variety of possible solutions to the crime wave, including a supernatural explanation, before the final reveal, which I thought was excellent. What brought The Guardian Stones down from 4 to 3.5 stars was its slow beginning, which might well have discouraged a less determined reader. I'm glad my persistence paid off in the end.

(Goodreads)

The story progresses largo until it crescendos in a horror driven climax, all the more effective for the presumed innocence of the cause....This is not your usual mystery. There is no effective investigation, people are drawn along by events out of their control. Despite the apparent aimlessness of the characters, the tension builds inexorably, helped by italicised sections hinting at horrors not revealed until the end....The village itself and life in 1941 England appear faultlessly limned, though one hopes the characters are less accurately representative. A memorable read, especially the unerasable climactic images.

(CrimeThruTime)

A remote Shropshire town is beset by wartime demons even more insidious than the Third Reich. It's 1941. American widower Edwin Carpenter is retired from his job as a university professor, and he's made the arduous trip to England to study a stone circle just outside the town of Noddweir. He's corresponded with Vicar Timothy Wilson and arranged to lodge with Grace Baxter, whose father, the village constable, has gone off to war. The village is of two minds over the disappearance of Issy Chapman, the teenage daughter of the village blacksmith. On one hand, Issy is considered a troublemaker and a slut; on the other, her father is rumored to mistreat her. Quite a few children have been removed from their city homes and sent to the country for their safety, billeted among many families in and around Noddweir, and inevitably their numbers include quite a few tough troublemakers. As more children vanish, suspicion runs rife among the villagers. An outsider like Edwin is naturally high on the list of suspects. Then the ineffectual special constable sent to replace Grace's father is found murdered, and several other villagers die in suspicious circumstances as rumors of strange sightings occur. Grace's grandmother, a student of the old ways, folk cures, and magic, insists that the stone circle known as the Guardian Stones is responsible for all the horrifying events. Edwin, unpersuaded, tries to help Grace do her father's job and protect the town from whatever modern evil is plaguing it. A fascinating look at a small town mired in the past and confronting the future - with a bombshell ending.

(Kirkus Reviews)

I found myself enjoying this book much more than I had anticipated. Always a fan of historical fiction the setting in 1941 England promised much, but the aspect of horror attached to the story is fascinating. As children from bomb-threatened cities arrive in the village of Noddweir for their own safety, the disappearance of the village children rouses the superstitions of the villagers. Recommended.

(Goodreads)

The novel speaks to the irrationality of folklore, the social aspects of war, the effect environment has on people, and the universality of loss....I enjoyed the setting, the time period, and the initial premise of the novel.

(Goodreads)

Not the type of mystery I usually read, otherwise I might rank it higher. Very dark. Two drawbacks for me were the death of the dog, and the fact that the ages of most of the characters were unclear, which makes it hard for me to relate to it. Otherwise well-written....Read this because I really like the authors' John the Chamberlain series.

(Goodreads)

...overall, the novel rates high marks for well-paced, page-turning storytelling, unsettling darkness, and all-too-human realism.

(Meredith Frazier Reviewing the Evidence)

There is nothing of the standard mystery novel here. Very good....The English village of Noddweir has done its part, even if reluctantly, in accepting children from the big cities suffering through the blitz of German airplanes in the summer of 1941. These children do not always settle easily into the fabric of a small isolated village, so different from their city homes. The problems begin with mischief which the residents of the village lay firmly at the feet of the mischievous children who have been billeted in the village. Unfortunately, a local young girl disappears, then non-resident children begin to go missing. Have they run away or has something more sinister happened? When the pranks escalate to real damage and danger the villagers have no idea what could be happening in their isolated community overlooked by the mysterious Guardian Stones on the hilltop....This novel is categorized by the publisher as British, historical, mystical mystery. I would like to add horror to that list. The tension in this story builds ever so slowly so that you get the full impact of the local superstitions as well as the privations of daily living in England in June of 1941. Small rural villages might not have been quite as hard hit by the food shortages and rationing because they had more opportunity to grow their own food, but life was still harsh and people were extremely wary of any stranger suddenly appearing in their midst. The main character in this novel is a recently widowed retired professor from the United States who has come to study the Guardian Stones. The official police officer of the village has gone to fight in the war and his replacement is definitely in need of instruction in how to investigate any kind of case, never mind something as serious as the cases which confront him here. There is a lot of unease built into this novel and you are definitely not going to be reading a standard mystery. There is nothing standard about this at all. This is the first novel featuring this character and I can't find any information that indicates it will become a series. Probably best as a stand-alone anyway.

(J Lesley Amazon TOP 500 REVIEWER / VINE VOICE)

Children are disappearing from a rural English village during WWII. Did they run away or is someone or something more sinister afoot? Are the mysterious stone monoliths known as "The Guardians" in some way responsible for these disappearances? Readers will be entertained by local lore and superstitions contributing to the deepening mystery....It was a joy to explore the personalities of the villagers of Noddweir. Readers will meet the visiting professor, the shopkeeper, the local witch wise woman, the drunken blacksmith, the village bully/bobby, the wheezy vicar, volatile couples, rowdy children, the schoolmarm, and the peddler of black market contraband. Each character is painted with sufficient detail to provide an essence of the person without a lot of the backstory that tends to bore or overwhelm readers....I'll keep an eye out for the final publication and future works by this debut author. There's talent here, particularly in character development and the escalation of conflict.

(Goodreads)

In the English village of Noddweir they take children into there community from the big cities in the blitz....A young local girl goes missing then children that are not local goes missing as well.The children that have been sent there are blamed for all the mysterious things that start to happen, have the children that are missing run away or something else happened to them?...The village is overlooked by the Guardian stones on the hilltop and the recently widowed professor has come to study them....A good novel.

(Goodreads)

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ISBN 10:  1464205035 ISBN 13:  9781464205033
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