book cover of Cue the Battered Wife

Cue the Battered Wife

A novel by

A bird watcher's photograph reveals a human hand in an eagle's nest.

Vivien Reid, celebrated explorer and author, darling of the media, is devastated when her publisher drops her from the list. An admirer and one-time editor, Rupert Lasco, seizes his opportunity and pushes her towards writing crime novels, which she must set in the mountain country with which she is so familiar.

The proposal starts to bear fruit and Lasco moves into Vivien's remote Highland lodge where propinquity results in progress from successful team work to affection and marriage, Lasco also winning over the fiercely loyal secretary and handyman who have found their own niches working with Vivien whom they adore. On the other hand the macho, hard-drinking neighbor, Alastair Semple, regards Lasco with overt hostility.

A mediocre climber, he has been taken out by Vivien occasionally and finds it humiliating that she should now reject him, citing the demands of the new book. Semple is contemptuous of both book and new husband and takes out his frustration on his wife, Aileen. His fortunes are low: once the local laird he is reduced to running a pony-trekking business, aided by his wife's dour step-father while her mother attends to the domestic side of two households. Aileen is a loose cannon, neurotic and careless, existing on drink and drugs.

Semple's frustration and rage escalate, culminating one afternoon in sadistic jibes aimed at Aileen before his violent exit at a time when bad weather is moving in. Next morning the glen awakes to deep snow over and the dawning awareness that the laird is missing.

Gwen Moffat left school at 17 to enlist in the Women's Land Army. Transferring to the Army she deserted after four years and joined a group of travelling hippies. A variety of jobs followed from hotel maid to forester, farm worker to artist's model. While managing a youth hostel in Snowdonia she qualified as a mountain guide and climbed professionally for the next 20 years. The bestseller Space Below My Feet covers those early years.

More non-fiction followed as she became involved with mountain rescue, conservation and a series of primitive cottages. Then, inspired by Livia Gollancz, she turned to crime, seeing a relation between human and elemental violence, between people pushed to the limit on mountains and those who go over the edge and kill.

Gwen Moffat revels in research: getting to know the bones of a new country, its weather, wildlife, inhabitants, making herself available for the germ of a plot to pounce and take root. She is obsessively curious and a good listener.

Commissioned by Gollancz and Viking to follow the California Trail she discovered a new world, and Hard Road West was followed by a string of mysteries as she worked and explored the deserts, mountains and glorious coasts of the American West.

Her settings may be wild and splendid or, as in isolated villages, deceptively tranquil, but the plots are dark. Her themes feature abuse: of women, children, animals, the environment. Characters echo their creator's concerns: acting them out with cool amorality. Some form of justice may be achieved: retributive and often shrouded in a conspiracy of silence.

Genre: Mystery

Used availability for Gwen Moffat's Cue the Battered Wife

Hardback Editions

February 1996 : UK Hardback

Title: Cue the Battered Wife (Ulverscroft Large Print)
Author(s): Gwen Moffat
ISBN: 0-7089-3471-4 / 978-0-7089-3471-5 (UK edition)
Publisher: Ulverscroft Large Print Books Ltd
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

May 1994 : UK Hardback

Title: Cue The Battered Wife (Crime Case S.)
Author(s): Gwen Moffat
ISBN: 0-333-61424-0 / 978-0-333-61424-2 (UK edition)
Publisher: Macmillan
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

Audio Editions

March 2006 : UK Audio Cassette

Title: Cue the Battered Wife
Author(s): Gwen Moffat
ISBN: 1-84559-271-9 / 978-1-84559-271-4 (UK edition)
Publisher: Soundings Ltd
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

Kindle Editions

March 2012 : USA, Canada, UK Kindle edition

Title: Cue the Battered Wife
Author(s): Gwen Moffat
Publisher: Eamont Press
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA