I’ve been lucky enough to be a member of various book groups over the years. A few people have told me that they’re reading A Deadly Thaw in their own book club or reading group. To help along discussions I’ve put together some questions that I often raise when I have my own library and bookshop events. I hope you find them helpful.
1. A Deadly Thaw explores how investigations into sex crimes has changed since the 1980s. Do you think this accurately reflects shifting attitudes to victims of sex attacks?
2. Some readers have commented that easy access to cheap alcohol and dodgy pubs is no longer possible because of stricter licencing laws. Do you think the scenario in A Deadly Thaw could happen now? What would be the twenty first century equivalent?
3. One of the themes of Sarah Ward’s books are how in small towns secrets can fester for generations. Why do you think a small town setting resonances with so many people?
4. The Peak District is a hugely evocative location and helps with creating atmosphere in the narrative. What constraints do you think a rural location brings to a crime novel?
5. Kat is a therapist who fails to acknowledge the traumas in her own past. She crosses a professional boundary with her relationship with Mark. What do you think their future is likely to be?
6. What is the significance of the Hammer films watched by Lena and Kat as teenagers? Do they represent a closeness now longer present or is there another significance?
7. There are a number of references to the First World War in A Deadly Thaw. The gun is a trophy from the war given to Lena’s father and Andrew Fisher’s body is found in a disused mortuary. Why do you think there’s a WW1 theme running through the book?
8. DI Francis Sadler and DC Connie Childs are widely different characters. Which did you engage with more? Do you think diverse characters are important to a crime novel?