Chickenfeed (Allen & Unwin, 2006) is another in the series of Quick Reads. This one is by Minette Walters and is based on the true story of the “Chicken Farm Murder”, which took place in Blackness Road, Crowborough, East Sussex, in December 1924. Like others in the Quick Reads series it can be read in about an hour and gives a taste for the writer’s style without having to commit to reading a longer book.
Minette Walters has imaginatively filled in the details of the Chicken Farm Murder around the actual facts of the case. She has depicted her characters well and caught, on paper, the build up of frustrating circumstances that led to the death of a young woman. In so doing she has constructed a scenario different to the one the jury believed. We are left wondering if justice was really done in this case? Walters, of course, had access to modern schools of thought on such issues as mental health and criminal psychology which were unavailable to the jury.
It is a well written and researched story. Walters is known for her skill in writing crime fiction but here she has been able to take a true story and remind us that truth is sometimes stranger than fiction.