Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Playground Murders (The Detective's Daughter, #7)” as Want to Read:
The Playground Murders (The Detective's Daughter, #7)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Playground Murders

(The Detective's Daughter #7)

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  558 ratings  ·  49 reviews

Forty years ago, in the dark of the playground, two children's lives were changed forever.

Stella Darnell is a cleaner. But when she isn't tackling dust and dirt and restoring order to chaos, Stella solves murders. Her latest case concerns a man convicted of killing his mistress. His daughter thinks he's innocent, and needs Stella to prove it.

As Stella sifts through p

Kindle Edition
Published April 4th 2019 by Head of Zeus
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Playground Murders, please sign up.
Recent Questions
This question contains spoilers... (view spoiler)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.04  · 
Rating details
 ·  558 ratings  ·  49 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Playground Murders (The Detective's Daughter, #7)
Mar 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is the 7th in Lesley Thomson's The Detective's Daughter, set in London with an unusual protagonist, 53 year old Stella Darnell, who is an expert cleaner with her own firm, Clean Slate. Stella got drawn into becoming a crime investigator when her father, Frank, died and she looked into his death. She works on her cases with Jack Harmon, underground train driver with intuitive abilities that complement Stella's more logical and rational approach. Stella and Jack are finally in a relationship ...more
To this day there is a fascination about child murders that makes them compelling (albeit possibly uncomfortably so) as subject matter for a crime novel. Switching back and forth in time from the present day to 1980 (always clearly signposted), the reader is soon immersed in the uncanny connections between people, places and events. The connections are especially personal for Stella because of her links to those involved in investigating the original murder at a pivotal moment in her childhood. ...more
Jun 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Book reviews on

The Playground Murders is a slow burning, excellently crafted crime/mystery novel which no doubt follows the same high standard of the first 6 in the series (none of which I’ve read, though I’ve always wanted to). The fact that I haven’t delved into this series before didn’t affect my reading of The Playground Murders as far as I could tell. There’s quite a lot of tension within this novel, with two timeframes presented: the 1980s (mostly), following the tragi
Lou (nonfiction fiend)
Apr 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Playground Murders is the seventh book in The Detective's Daughter series which following protagonist Stella Darnell, an amateur investigator who was drawn into the crime world after looking into her father's death at an earlier point in time. This is definitely more of a slow-burn mystery than anything fast or frenetic and it feels very atmospheric, almost like the works of Ms Christie. This particular instalment is twisted and complex, not to mention dark and disturbing and the contrast be ...more
May 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
4* Thriller set in WEST LONDON and THE COTSWOLDS

The Playground Murders by Lesley Thomson – thriller set in West London and the Cotswolds

The Playground Murders is the seventh book in Lesley Thomson’s The Detective’s Daughter series. It features the same key characters as the previous six – Stella who runs a cleaning company (Clean Slate) and is a part time private detective, and her partner – Jack – also a part time private detective, but who earns his living as a tube train driver. They are one
Oct 16, 2019 rated it it was ok
I picked up this book at random so I didn't realise it was several books into a series. That explains why I found the recurring characters hard to follow. However, there was another layer of characters on top of them, and too many of the names were too similar. No wonder the author drew up a couple of lists of suspects and victims and family members! At one point there was a clear mistake where one character's name was printed instead of the correct one so I guess even the author got confused at ...more
Sep 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'm a huge fan of Stella and her crew. LT has created entirely original characters and each book sees some development of the characters. I found this to be the darkest story so far. As with previous titles the story occilates between the present and the past as Stella strives to solve and resolve a case history from her late father's files. I found the first couple of chapters set in 1980 a difficult entry into the story. So difficult that I thought about either giving up or only reading the pr ...more
I am usually methodical about reading a series, start from the beginning and work my way through, but, alas, I couldn’t control myself with Lesley Thomson’s Detective’s Daughter series. I read the first one and immediately fell in love with Stella and Jack, and I really wanted to read the books in order, but then Lesley’s latest The Distant Dead arrived, and I had last year’s The Playground Murders sitting in my short stack, too, so I caved. I opened The Playground Murders and could not stop rea ...more
Jul 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent.The last one was a one star for me so I'm very glad she's back on form. ...more
Philomena Callan Cheekypee
May 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: loved-it
This is book seven in The Detectives Daughter series. I did something I don’t like doing and I jumped right into this book without reading the previous books. The blurb sounded so good I just had to read it. Having said that I don’t feel as if I lost out reading this as a standalone.

Stella’s dad investigated the murder of a six year old girl forty years ago. When Stella finds a link between the murders and a recent murder she’s about to open a can of worms.

I liked the story of Stella and Jack,
Sep 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
In the present day storyline, private investigator (and cleaner) Stella Darnell is asked to reinvestigate a murder case by a daughter who is convinced her imprisoned father is innocent of the charges. Her story is full of inconsistencies and I wasn't entirely sure I believed her. An unreliable character always makes a book more interesting for me though, so it made for an intriguing start. Interspersed with the present day is the story a group of children in the 1980s. Two of them die within a s ...more
Renita D'Silva
Dec 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
David Gilchrist
Jul 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
A good read, though I struggled with the two timelines.
Oct 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Liked the story but for some reason did not enjoy reading the book. Perservered till the end. Maybe it was the past and present back and forthing that did not work for me. Not sure what it was but not and enjoyable read for me.
I requested this book THE PLAYGROUND MURDERS not aware that it was part of a series, namely The Detective's Daughter. However, it can be read as a standalone in my opinion as it reads quite well as one, and I didn't feel I was missing anything by not starting from the beginning.

Of course it was the storyline of the original murders forty years prior and the mystery that surrounded them that grabbed me from the off. The fact that it had dual timelines was a mega plus for me, as that is my favour
Judith Cranswick
Jul 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is the seventh novel in Thomson’s popular The Detective’s Daughter Series. Stella
Darnell runs a cleaning agency, but she also solves murders with the help of her boyfriend
Jack Harmon. Stella is approached by a young woman who asks her to prove her father recently convicted of killing his mistress is innocent. She believes the real killer is her mother
who forty years earlier, at the age of ten, murdered two six-year-olds at a local playground.

Central to the story is impact of the earlier mur
Jane Hunt
Jun 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing

I didn’t discover,’The Detective’s Daughter Series, until Book 6 The Death Chamber. That story, and this one, ‘The Playground Murders’, reads well as a standalone. There is sufficient background, especially about Stella’s enigmatic father to let you understand what motivates the main protagonists. However, for the full experience read the older books too.

Original characters and complex cold cases to solve are the hallmarks of this detective series. The characters are quirky and realistic, they a
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Forty years ago, in the dark of the playground, two children's lives were changed for ever.
Stella Darnell is a cleaner. But when she isn't tackling dust and dirt and restoring order to chaos, Stella solves murders. Her latest case concerns a man convicted of killing his mistress. His daughter thinks he's innocent, and needs Stella to prove it.
As Stella sifts through piles of evidence and interview suspects, she discovers a link between the recent murder and a famous case from forty years ago: th
Aug 18, 2022 rated it really liked it
Shelves: rated, reviewed, 2022
Gripping, evocative, atmospheric, sinister, witty, poignant…everything I’ve come to expect from this series. The people and places come to life so vividly.

Characterisation was on point, as per. Clever how Danielle is painted as a repulsive, but occasionally strangely sympathetic character - brilliantly done. The flashbacks to the 1980s were the most effective parts of the book.

I was hooked throughout, however, I was hoping there might be more twists in the mystery of people’s identities at the c
Nov 19, 2019 rated it liked it
I had very high hopes for this book and it´s not like I didn´t enjoy it, I just thought it was a confusing mix of being slow while a million things seemed to be happening at once. There were so many threads, so many characters, so many storylines that all (almost) connected at the end but were very confusing to me throughout.

I have to admit that I probably shouldn't have read book #7 without reading the first 6 and that might be partly why the characters were confusing to me. I also listened to
Grace J Reviewerlady
May 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great crime read! I only wish I had discovered this author earlier . . .

Stella Darnell runs a cleaning company; she is an expert at deep cleaning crime scenes. As her father was a detective, Stella has an interest in solving crimes and that's exactly what she does - cold cases, to be exact. Along with her 'boyfriend' Jack, she tends to find herself embroiled in working out what happened long ago, and her new case is no different except there seems to be a link to a recent murder.  Can Stella and
Tasha Williams
Jun 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
::..Reviewed for Red's Midnight Readers..::

I was very kindly offered an ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review and I have given it 4 stars.

The Playground Murders is the first book I have read by Lesley Thompson and the 7th in The Detective's Daughter series, however I found it easy to follow as a standalone and didn't feel like I had lost any of important details.

The story flips between the past and the present, taking place 40 years apart when the lives of two children are tragically
Cathy Beyers
Apr 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
This series of books grows on you as you get more familiar with the characters and the quirky way they think and see the world. The atmosphere is an intrinsic part of the book and Lesley Thomson is a master at bringing to life certain parts of London. In this book Stella and Jack once again have to delve into one of the past cases of Stella's father that involved a child killing two other children in a playground. As we get to know the unrepentant killer, we also see the repercussions the past c ...more
Fiona Thompson
Apr 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Another excellent tale from Lesley Thomson. Once again we are back with familiar characters and some new intriguing ones. The story takes us back to the 1980s and the murder of children, investigated by Stella's dad, Terry. Moving backwards and forwards in time it is fundamentally, for me, about relationships and trust. It's also an excellent detective story, a tense thriller, and a nail-biting drama. I love being with Stella and Jack et al and it's good watching their relationship(s) develop - ...more
Aug 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Stella and Jack have moved on quite a bit since their last case, and are now officially in a relationship (about time too!) This case involves a modern murder in Gloucestershire and a case from the 1980s which is from their own patch in West London, with no apparent link. Slowly the connections come to light. The historic case is another of Stella's father's bits of unfinished business (possibly). I didn't spot the (modern) murderer (I did clock one thing which Stella really ought to have notice ...more
Dec 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
From a series of detective novels I've come to watch for. An OCD house cleaner in her 40's and daughter of a homicide detective who was distant in her childhood but has left cold cases and connections after his death, partnered with a younger man , Jack,who hears the dead and senses potential murderers , a septuganarian hard drinking journalist with off center ethics and some othervexcellent supporting cast. By book 4 protagonist Stella Darnell is running both a cleaning agency and a detective a ...more
Jun 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Another great book in the series

I have read all of the detectives daughter books and thoroughly enjoyed this one. It was interesting to find out more about Stella’s father Terry, his life and those around him.
The intertwined stories allow you to see the story taking place now and the layers of the history from the perspective of other people and places. It’s as though you can look at a place and know who was there and what happened in that space. Very well done.
Cristina Reid
Oct 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
we all have wake up evil is in children, a murderer who thinks she has not done it and cannot admit it is challenged by another murder who was in love obsessively and manages to help save two children, chilling book with enterprising and detail in depth, worth the read on a topic not many approach and the goodness in others that help all to be sorted, if one can as there still murdered people.
Dynamic personalities
Claire (c.isfor.claire_reads)
Firstly, I didn't realise this book was several into the series, so it took me a while to settle into it and get to know the characters. Overall, I found this a good crime read with many different threads evolving throughout the story, as the past and present murders are pieced together and resolved. Reading this as a stand alone book, having not read anything else in the series, I found it a good read. ...more
Jun 15, 2020 rated it liked it
I read the detective's daughter #1 and didn't find it nearly as fascinating as this one. This was really good. The murders of two children a few weeks apart was hard to solve, especially when the first murder was thought to have been an accident. The only problem I had with the writing was that it was very disjointed, jumping between time periods and between characters without much transition that I found it hard to follow until about the middle of the book. But great story. ...more
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • THE GIRL IN THE MEADOW  (Detective Chief Inspector Jack Harris, #10)
  • Before the Storm (DCI Lorimer, #18)
  • The Curse of the House of Foskett (The Gower Street Detective, #2)
  • Ruin Beach (DI Ben Kitto, #2)
  • 99 Red Balloons
  • Someone Named Eva
  • The Case of the Baker Street Irregular
  • The Serial Killer's Daughter
  • Find the Girl (Det. Morgan Brookes, #5)
  • An Unhallowed Grave (Wesley Peterson, #3)
  • Knock Knock (DCI Kett #10)
  • Zora Neale Hurston and Their Eyes Were Watching God
  • The Mangle Street Murders (The Gower Street Detective, #1)
  • Trick of the Night (DCI Matt Ballard #5)
  • My Little Brother
  • Tuesday's Child
  • The Love of My Other Life
  • Abduction
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Lesley Thomson was born in 1958 and grew up in London. She went to Holland Park Comprehensive and the Universities of Brighton and Sussex. Her novel A Kind of Vanishing won The People's Book Prize in 2010. Lesley combines writing with teaching creative writing. She lives in Lewes with her partner. ...more

Other books in the series

The Detective's Daughter (8 books)
  • The Detective's Daughter (The Detective's Daughter, #1)
  • Ghost Girl (The Detective's Daughter, #2)
  • The Detective's Secret (The Detective's Daughter, #3)
  • The House With No Rooms (The Detective's Daughter, #4)
  • The Dog Walker (The Detective's Daughter, #5)
  • The Death Chamber (The Detective's Daughter, #6)
  • The Distant Dead (The Detective's Daughter Book 8)

Related Articles

One of the great benefits of working here at Goodreads World Headquarters is a little pastime we call trendspotting. Spend enough time staring...
210 likes · 22 comments