Attractive, intelligent characters and credible backgrounds in the City, law and government are the hallmarks of Neelís stylish mysteries. In real life she is merchant banker Janet Cohen, and has used her previous experience in the Department of Trade and Industry to create her brittle but effective heroine, Francesca Wilson. In Deathís Bright Angel, which won the 1988 John Creasey award, Francesca is a civil servant, playing surrogate mother to her many musical but impractical brothers and falling in love with John McLeish of the Metropolitan Police. The difficulties of their relationship (many caused by her devotion to her siblings) and her experience of postnatal depression add emotional depth, as do such themes as the domestic violence in A Timely Death. Neel has twice been shortlisted for the Gold Dagger award.
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