Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Flower Girls – Alice Clark-Platts

Psychological Thriller

Over the years I have had an ongoing interest in books that portray children who kill. Not the cheeriest of subjects I grant you but I have read some really insightful fictional books that take a look at this thankfully rare circumstance. The Flower Girls was definitely at the darker edge of the subject and perhaps surprisingly less obviously based upon known cases.

Alice Clark Platts has created two characters Laurel and Rosie, sisters, who brutally killed another child one summer’s day. Rosie was just six years old on the day of the murder, far too young to be formally be punished but Laurel was sent to prison where she remains. Rosie is given a new identity to help her move on while Laurel remains in prison nineteen years on. Rosie, now Hazel is staying at a hotel when a young child goes missing and it is this that brings the past hurtling back to meet the present.

The brilliance of this book isn’t just the premise, nor is it really the plot which while ingenious is used as a vehicle to look at the wider issues surrounding all crime, but particularly that committed by a child. DC Lorna Hillier represents law and order, the hotel guests pretty much stand for the public in all their glory, most particularly those who will uee any excuse for making money and garnering publicity, of which the media are more than willing to exploit. This really is the grubby side of crime and seeing it presented as it is in The Flower Girls really brings home how awful society can be and that while there are degrees of wrong, wounds can be inflicted by seemingly minor acts.

While I enjoyed the book which is divided into parts including the ubiquitous flashback scenes taking in the murder in 1997 and the eventual reunion of the two sisters, it did seem to be trying perhaps too hard in places to stick to the psychological thriller brief complete with surprising twists and turns. I personally felt that this meant that the excellent and sensitive probing of such a complex issue got lost in some less realistic plot devices but this was really a personal and minor quibble in what was a satisfying read.

Overall this book feels very dark indeed. I think this feeling persists due to the shadowy nature of the girls’ early years and the decisions their parents make following the imprisonment of Laurel, overall this book made me feel incredibly sad for all the wasted lives contained within its pages. Understanding the parallels to society only served to underline my sadness. For all that, it was a well thought-out novel that will stay with me for quite some time to come.

First Published UK: 17 January 2019
Publisher: Raven/strong>
No. of Pages: 339
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Amazon UK
Amazon US


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

8 thoughts on “The Flower Girls – Alice Clark-Platts

  1. It is a really difficult subject, isn’t it, Cleo? And it’s got to be handled well to avoid sensationalism. It sounds as though this really does take an interesting look at the topic, even if it does get a little ‘thriller-esque.’ That question of past and present crime is interesting, too. As you know, I have a real liking for that sort of book. I’m glad you found well-done things about the book.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, it is a tough subject to read or write about. I watched a true story about two girls similar to these. Now, I’m curious to read and meet the characters in this story and see what motivated them.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I can understand your fascination with the subject. It seems so unnatural, yet it still happens…it’s good that we talk about it, and try to explain why it happens, hopefully avoiding future murders.

    Liked by 1 person

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