Marking the return of passionate and headstrong police officer Sam Shephard, The Ringmaster is the second book in the bestselling Sam Shephard Series, just released with Orenda Books.
[ About the Book ]
Death is stalking the South Island of New Zealand
Marginalised by previous antics, Sam Shephard, is on the bottom rung of detective training in Dunedin, and her boss makes sure she knows it. She gets involved in her first homicide investigation, when a university student is murdered in the Botanic Gardens, and Sam soon discovers this is not an isolated incident. There is a chilling prospect of a predator loose in Dunedin, and a very strong possibility that the deaths are linked to a visiting circus…
Determined to find out who’s running the show, and to prove herself, Sam throws herself into an investigation that can have only one ending…
[ My Review ]
The Ringmaster is the second book in this New Zealand based police procedural featuring the wonderfully spirited detective-in-training Samantha ‘Sam’ Shephard. Published on 25th April by Orenda Books, The Ringmaster is set in Dunedin on New Zealand’s South Island, home to the author and her family. Vanda Symon’s novels have been described by Kate Mosse as ‘perfect curl-up-on-the-sofa reading’ with The Guardian’s Barry Forshaw writing that ‘it is Symon’s copper Sam, self-deprecating and very human, who represents the writer’s real achievement’. So who is Sam Shephard? And what is The Ringmaster about?
Sam Shephard is a police officer with attitude. Transferred from the farming community of Mataura to Dunedin, the second largest city on the South Island, Sam is finding her feet. As a trainee detective, she knew that she would have issues with a few of her colleagues but she certainly hadn’t banked on the animosity and rancor she has to put up with from her immediate superior, DI Johns. Sam is living with her friend Maggie in the family home of Maggie’s uncle and aunt. This arrangement suits Sam, allowing her the independence that her job requires, but also the comfort of home cooking and a place to let off steam when needed.
Dunedin is a university city, milling with students throughout the academic year. It is also the home of a many a professor and educator, with any excessive violence an uncommon feature of life here. When the body of a female university student is discovered in the grounds of the famed Botanic Gardens, Sam is faced with her first murder investigation.
Sam came to Dunedin with a less than favourable reputation from Mataura and is kept on the outside of this new case, given the mundane jobs that no-one else wants to handle. But Sam is resilient and is prepared to put in the donkey work with her eyes on the future and her career.
Meanwhile, Sam receives a call to make her way to the location of a circus that has recently set up camp in town. Animal activists are protesting and the owner of the circus is peeved with the negative attention their actions are drawing to his business. Sam is from a farming background so she has great empathy for the chained and caged animals, but she also has to do her job.
With the murder inquiry picking up momentum and trouble at the circus grounds brewing away, Sam investigates all avenues, making some very unexpected discoveries., possible case-cracking revelations.
Sam Shephard is a vivacious and spunky heroine. With very little regard for her own safety, Sam fights the fight for truth and justice. She is cool and calm when required but she is also strong-willed and vocal when the situation arises.
The Ringmaster is a very atmospheric novel, very local in it’s descriptions of Dunedin, bringing the city alive to the reader. The Ringmaster is a mystery, a classic whodunnit, with a terrific plot and a gutsy protagonist at it’s core. Highly enjoyable read!
[ Bio ]
Vanda Symon is a crime writer, TV presenter and radio host from Dunedin, New Zealand, and the chair of the Otago Southland branch of the New Zealand Society of Authors.
The Sam Shephard series has climbed to number one on the New Zealand bestseller list, and also been shortlisted for the Ngaio Marsh Award for best crime novel.
She currently lives in Dunedin, with her husband and two sons.
Twitter – https://twitter.com/vandasymon