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April 28, 2014

9780230752047THE BURNING M. R. HALL

Hardback Published by Mantle on 27th February 2014

She’s embarrassed big corporations, exposed corrupt public officials and uncovered heinous crimes. Coroner Jenny Cooper crime novel.

The last word in crime.

Harden as she had become to violent tragedy during six years as coroner, there were still cases that hit her like  a fist in the heart. This was already one of them.

A dense, bitterly cold fog had settled over the Wye Valley when Bristol coroner Jenny Cooper is called  to the scene of a dreadful tragedy in the village of Blackstone Ley, a house has burned to the ground with three members of the family inside.

Though evidence of foul play is quickly uncovered, it isn’t long before the police investigation is drawn to a close. It seems certain that the fire was started by one of the victims, Ed Morgan, in a fit of jealous rage. Their infant son still missing, Ed had left a message for his surviving wife, Kelly Hart, telling her that she would never find the child.

But as Jenny Cooper prepares the inquest, she finds herself troubled by the official version of events.  What could have provoked Ed’s murderous rampage?. How might the other, guarded inhabitants of the village have been involved?. And what could the connection be with the mysterious abduction of a little girl ten years ago?.

Battling to supress gruelling events in her own life, Jenny soon becomes entangled in another perplexing inquiry that may have surprising links to this one.

Can she unearth Blackstone Ley’s secrets, before it’s too late.

Further reading by M. R. HALL






Discover more at

Twitter @MRHall_books

About the author

M. R. HALL is a Bafta nominated screenwriter, producer and former criminal barrister. Educated at Hereford Cathedral School and Worcester College, Oxford , he lives in Monmouthshire with his wife and two sons. Aside from writing, his main passion is the preservation and planting of woodlands. In his spare moments, he is mostly to be found among trees.

My review

M. R. Hall has published five other books that I have read. The Burning is my first novel. My experience  reading the burning is the making that has influenced me to read more from the stunningly brilliant clever author M. R. Hall. The burning is a heart shattering family tragedy story.  It is a dense bitterly cold night Christmas Eve in Wye Valley. Jenny Cooper the coroner is delivered  chilling to bone news by Detective Inspector Gabriel Ryan Gloucestershire CID, that a house in Blackstone Ley has burned to the ground. Stepdad Ed Morgan and two girls, one aged fourteen, and the other girl aged eleven, The young boy named Robbie who is three was disposed of before setting light to the house. The mother Kelly survived the blaze as she was working behind a bar in Bristol. Ed Morgan left a note to Kelly before setting the house on fire. The note told Kelly Robbie is gone and you will never find him. Ed Morgan worked part-time for the forestry at the fairmeadows farm as a slaughterman then treacherously he slaughtered his own family.Jenny is taken to the blackened house and is over come by the unsettling scene of the scorched house. Standing in utter despair Jenny’s heart was full of sorrowfulness for the children that was trapped inside the house. Jenny was genuinely beyond belief in how and what provoked Ed’s murderous rampage. The police pronounce they are now looking into Ed’s menace dark side and if he is connected to Susie Ashton who went missing ten years ago. In my view M. R. Hall is a genius for characters and for the language. The burning is so convincing that it carries you away.  On a personally level I believe M. R. Hall is the very best at creating detectives, forensic and pathologists better than Patricia Cornwell.


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