Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads, Mount TBR 2017

Flowers for the Dead – Barbara Copperthwaite

Crime Fiction

The beauty of flowers and their language are intertwined with the twisted thoughts of Adam Bourne, serial killer who believes he is the saviour of those he kills. Rarely have a read a book where I felt so torn between sympathy for both the victims and the perpetrator.

This book definitely falls into the grittier end of crime fiction writing, the read is not one for the faint-hearted, even the most hardened reader will be tempted to check their doors after meeting Adam. Adam longs for love but I just want to put it out there – watching women and helping them with their household chores when they don’t know you is not really going to do it for any of the women I know, and sure enough to date it is fair to say Adam has been unlucky in love.

Adam despite not understanding what makes women tick on the most basic of levels, is not a stupid man. He is sharp and using all and any tools available to him to follow the latest woman, always someone who looks like they need love, and then is disappointed when his plan does not quite pan out the way he expected.

There are few scenes I’ve read over the years than Adam’s reasoning for standing outside Covent Garden tube station in London scouting for unhappy women – a station I’ve waited at enough times in my life to bring the scene to life.
Alongside Adam’s adult persona we learn about his early life, the mitigation if you like for the way he has turned out with touching scenes of Adam’s beloved Grandmother reading him stories from the big book of fairy tales. Their mutual love shines through as when he gets older she introduces him to the language of flowers – the idea that each flower has a message to send, something which was very popular in Victorian England, slightly less so in this day and age although of course any woman who receives a dozen red roses understands what the message means and through careful commercial reinforcement, so do most men. But did you know that Daffodils mean unrequited love? No nor did I.

Yes, I know I’ve not told you about the plot, it’s a good one but you really do need to find out for yourself and there is little more that I can tell you without spoiling it! Yes, the characters are also all well drawn from victim to Policeman all have realistic elements to their personalities, I especially loved the interplay between Mike and his young daughter Daisy as we see a more harmless form of persuasion in the young girl as she wages war on his smoking habit. And the structure is brilliant, each chapter headed up with the name of a flower and its meaning with a sub-heading of where we are in Adam’s backstory if this is one of his chapters. This starts twenty-six years ago with Wood Sorrell (maternal tenderness) which once you meet Sara, Adam’s mother you’ll realise is an attribute that was totally absent in his life – what an inspired thinking to create a character that is more hateful and far scarier than the serial killer – Barbara Copperthwaite is a genius.

In short, you should really read this one, perfect for the winter nights when the wind is howling and the rain is lashing down, and you are safe inside – or are you?

Flowers for the Dead was my twenty-eighth read in the Mount TBR challenge, having been purchased in December 2016.



First Published UK: 21 September 2015
Publisher:  CreateSpace Independent Publishing 
No. of Pages:  472
Genre: Crime Fiction
Amazon UK
Amazon US


A book lover who clearly has issues as obsessed with crime despite leading a respectable life

22 thoughts on “Flowers for the Dead – Barbara Copperthwaite

  1. I’ve always thought those different meanings for different flowers are fascinating, Cleo. And I think the story sounds interesting. I’m not one, really, for fictional serial killers or a lot of brutality. But I do really like well-developed characters. Intriguing…


  2. This title and two others by Barbara Copperthwaite are waiting on my Kindle. Will try to get to them soon… Your comment that ‘she is a genius’ might just be the impetus I need to push them up the (very long) queue.


    1. I will definitely be picking up the author’s other two books in the near future – her ability to manipulate my emotions through her presentation of characters was astounding – I’m usually on my guard against such sneaky tricks


  3. Hmm – I don’t know. If someone’s going to murder me, I think I’d quite like him to help out with the household chores first. I’ve always been a little worried that the police might be so horrified at the state of my house they decide I deserved to be murdered… 😉


Leave a Reply, I love hearing what you have to say

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.