30th Sep2013

Book Review – The Third Estate

by Lloyd Paige

TheThirdEstate
Synopsis

A missing child

Nine-year-old Casey Collins is missing and time is running out. The chances of finding her alive get

slimmer with each agonising hour. As hopes for her safe return fade, attention turns to Casey’s mother,

Trisha. Living in social housing, with five children by different fathers, it’s not long before the

desperate police and scandal-hungry press turn on her, questioning not just her lifestyle choices, but

her innocence. Soon the previously tight-knit community on the run-down council estate in south London

suspect little Casey’s mother knows more about her daughter’s disappearance than she is letting on.

Only one woman can help

Hard-nosed newspaper reporter, Angela Tate is the only person who believes Trisha Collins is incapable of

harming Casey. But the ruthless hack has her own reasons for involving herself in the lives of Trisha’s

family. Always on the hunt for an exclusive, Tate promises front-page headlines and unlimited coverage of

the case in return for information: she presses Trisha to give up a secret she’s been keeping for over 30

years.

An unsolved mystery

Thirty-three years ago two little blonde girls disappeared from the same south London neighbourhood. One

was discovered on waste ground by Angela Tate, who was led to her body by a 7-year-old Trisha, but the

other girl was never found. Although a local youth was tried and convicted of the first murder, Tate was

never convinced of his guilt and is determined to solve the mystery once and for all.

Racing against time and opposed by the Metropolitan Police and an anonymous enemy, Angela Tate puts her

own life on the line to uncover a truth more shocking than she could ever have imagined.

Fans of The Loyal Servant will welcome the return of Angela Tate, but will this story be the last she

ever investigates?

The Review

Eva Hudson’s The Loyal Servant won the inaugural Lucy Cavendish fiction prize. She has also written the Senior Moment, Last Ride, and The Long Drop.

Eva Hudson’s The Third Estate plunges you straight into the nitty gritty world of council estate life when nine-year old Casey Collins goes missing. Everyone rallies together but her mother Trisha has a secret from the past and it isn’t long before her lifestyle is scrutinised, which leads to the missing girl’s family being put under suspicion. For journalist Angela Tate, the disappearance and a few familiar faces, brings back painful memories. She can’t understand the constant presence of the brutish Gary Benson and finds herself trying to balance her job, and friendship with Casey’s mother Trisha, while feeling compelled to find the truth.

Tate investigates as best she can, with a wise head and her journalistic hat on, and the responsibility of seeing it through to find the answers becomes a see-saw act between herself and DI Natasha McKittrick – the police officer investigating the disappearance. McKittrick is intriguing with a cloaked past and has a varied bunch in her team at her disposal. A display of modern attitudes are at the forefront of this story and it mirrors our society to some extent too.

In The Third Estate Hudson weaves the finger pointing throughout the narrative, twisting it here and there, while carefully building a rounded picture of all the main players. She skilfully pushes the plot along until we reach our climax, delivering the sought after answers.

Will Trisha reveal the secret of the past?

Will they find Casey alive?

Eva Hudson daubs her prose with a refreshing sense of realism throughout, giving us a taste of modern Britain with a harrowing crime and a buried secret.

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