Dancers in the Wind by Anne Coates. Book Review
Hannah Webridge is a freelance journalist commissioned to write an investigative article on the red light district of Kings Cross. She interviews a prostitute called Princess, as well as Tom Jordan, a DI in the vice squad. But when Princess arrives on Hannah’s doorstep horribly beaten up, Hannah has to decide how far she can go to investigate why murders of the Kings Cross prostitutes are being covered up. To do so will take her right out of her comfort zone. Particularly as the culprit may be someone of considerable means and influence. Hannah also does not know who she can trust.
Having the main protagonist as a single mum of a toddler makes for an interesting story dynamic, because it means Hannah has to juggle the difficult task of a parent who is the only source of income into the household, as well as potentially putting her daughter in danger.
Dancers in the Wind is set in the early 1990s, which was just before the internet really took off and mobile phones were something only a few could afford. Fact finding cannot be done from the comfort of Hannah’s home, but requires dogged leg work, taking Hannah to risky places she should not be going, except for the fact she is driven to help Princess. Throughout the book readers will question why it is Hannah should be prepared to do this, given that she has the responsibility of a small child. This setup makes for a tense read.
Hannah’s status in life is so very different to that of Princess’, something emphasised at the start because Hannah has the luxury of fretting over not being able to find a black purse in a black handbag. You are made to feel stressed by Hannah’s situation of being a single parent, while attempting to maintain a social life with her sophisticated friends. But this is all put into perspective with the brutal reality of Princess’s life. So this urban crime thriller is not a book for the faint-hearted.
The plot works well and makes for an engrossing read as you wonder what Hannah will uncover and whether Hannah, Princess and Hannah’s daughter, Elizabeth, will remain safe.