#Review: Shadow Sleeper (A Dudley Green Investigation) by Madalyn Morgan @ActScribblerDJ #historicalthriller #1960s

By | June 6, 2022

It’s a real pleasure today to share my review of Shadow Sleeper by Madalyn Morgan: the tenth stand-alone book in the Dudley Sisters saga (and the second Dudley Green investigation), it was independently published on 20th March and is now available for kindle and in paperback, via Amazon in the UK (e-book just £1.99, or free via Kindle Unlimited) and the US. The e-copy I read was my own, purchased via Amazon for my kindle.

Madalyn’s books are rather becoming my guilty pleasure – and while I really enjoyed a few of the earlier books in the Dudley Sisters saga, I was particularly taken by the ninth in the series, Old Cases, New Colours (you’ll find my review here), that picked up Ena Dudley’s story in the 1960s as she moved away from investigating Home Office cold cases and set up her own private investigation agency.

Let’s take a closer look at the tenth…

“Excellent pacing, a brilliant story, superb characters, and wonderful evocation of the period as well as a great crime mystery. Brilliant!” Michael Jecks


During 1960, Rupert Highsmith, lover of Ena’s associate Artie Mallory, receives anonymous letters and compromising photographs taken twenty four years earlier in Berlin. While researching the parentage of a young woman claiming to be the daughter of Ena’s friend, Priscilla Galbraith, Highsmith is almost killed in a hit and run. The investigation takes Ena to Shetland where she learns that the would-be assassin of Highsmith (and PM Stanley Baldwin in 1936) is dead.


Who wants to kill Rupert Highsmith, and more importantly, why? Who took the compromising photographs in 1936? And is the girl who says she’s Priscilla’s daughter the child that was stolen nineteen years ago?

One thing that I really enjoyed about the last book in this lovely series – Old Cases, New Colours – was that its storylines moved away a little from the world of international espionage and focused instead on a clutch of cases handled by Ena Dudley’s new private investigation agency. And, after an unsettling incident at the start, this book begins in a similar vein as she sets about bravely tackling a protection racket impacting the friend who runs the local cafe. But after celebrating another successful outcome, her assistant Artie and his partner Rupert are targeted by a hit and run driver – coming in the wake of receiving compromising photographs from his past life as an operative in Berlin, it’s apparent that it wasn’t a random event, and Rupert is hospitalised with life-threatening injuries. The investigation that follows sees Ena re-entering the world she’d hoped to leave behind, of spies and sleepers, handlers and double agents, and sees her travelling to Shetland to delve into the secrets of the past, uncovering a web of intrigue stretching from the time of the 1936 Olympics and a plot to assassinate Stanley Baldwin into life in the 1960s. And as that story unfolds, Ena also has another case to handle – she’s called on by her friend Charles Galbraith to investigate a young woman claiming to be his wife Priscilla’s daughter, cruelly taken from her nineteen years ago.

I’ll readily admit that the intricacies of the world of post-war espionage are many miles away from my usual reading, but the author is a wonderful storyteller and I found the story that emerged entirely gripping – often on the edge of my seat, it was a world I was more than happy to engage with, drawn in by Ena’s personality and frequent disregard for convention, bending the rules shamelessly when the need arose, getting ever closer to uncovering the truth and uncovering the would-be assassin. Although a touch less high octane in the thriller stakes, the whole story about Priscilla Galbraith’s daughter was quite fascinating too – no DNA testing in those days, so proving her claim had more to do with checking out a resemblance and establishing the veracity of her background story with a nice bit of contemporary sleuthing.

Ena and Artie themselves would be enough to make me love this series – they’re wonderfully drawn characters, and their unconventional approach to their investigations is tremendously engaging – but I’m also really impressed by the way the author creates her 1960s setting. With an acute eye for detail, she makes you feel part of both the scene and the era – driving around the streets of London in Ena’s Sunbeam Rapier (and it seems Rupert might have been run down by a Ford Zephyr – isn’t that just so right?), the music and fashions, the cafes and restaurants and the food they eat – transporting you effortlessly into a familiar world but one of her own creation. And I was almost surprised how deeply involved I became in the central storyline – it does take a bit of concentration to keep up with all the unexpected twists and turns, and I’m not entirely sure whether some of its subtleties might have gone over my head, but as the resolution approached I was firmly in its grip and rooting for a successful outcome to Ena’s investigation.

This won’t be a book for everyone, but I thought it was thoroughly excellent. It might be that part of the appeal of this book for me was that it was so far removed from the books I usually read, a breath of fresh air and something entirely different – but I’m incredibly impressed by the author’s skill in telling a complicated story, making it entertaining, and keeping me enthralled by it from beginning to end. Very much recommended – and I do hope I’ll have the opportunity to join Ena and Artie again on their next set of investigations…

About the author

I was bought up in a pub in a small market town called Lutterworth. For as long as I can remember, my dream was to be an actress and a writer. The pub was a great place for an aspiring actress and writer to live with so many characters to study and accents to learn. I was offered Crossroads the first time around. However, my mother wanted me to have a ‘proper’ job that I could fall back on if I needed to, so I did a hairdressing apprenticeship. Eight years later, aged twenty-four, I gave up a successful salon and wig-hire business in the theatre for a place at East 15 Drama College and a career as an actress, working in Repertory theatre, the West End, film and television.

In 1995, with fewer parts for older actresses, I gave up acting. I taught myself to touch-type, completed a two-year correspondence course with The Writer’s Bureau and began writing articles and presenting radio.

In 2010, after living in London for thirty-six years, I moved back to Lutterworth. I swapped two window boxes and a mortgage for a garden and the freedom to write. Since then, I have written ten novels. The first four, The Dudley Sisters’ Saga, tell the stories of four sisters in World War 2. My last two novels, Old Cases, New Colours and Shadow Sleeper, are thriller/detective stories set in 1960. I am writing a Christmas book – Christmas Applause – and a Memoir; a collection of short stories, articles, poems, photographs and character breakdowns from my days as an actress.

My earlier books are all available on Amazon – in paperback and for kindle.

Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram

4 thoughts on “#Review: Shadow Sleeper (A Dudley Green Investigation) by Madalyn Morgan @ActScribblerDJ #historicalthriller #1960s

  1. Madalyn Morgan

    Thank you for the wonderful post on your Award Winning Blog, Anne. And thank you for the great review. I love it that you know Ena (and my style of writing) so well. Thank you, again, I am very grateful.

    1. Anne Post author

      My absolute pleasure Maddie x

  2. Lizzie LambLizzie Lamb

    A fabulous review, Anne. I agree with Maddie, to appear on your blog is a wonderful opportunity for a writer, especially an indie. Hope to see you soon (maybe at the conference?)

    1. Anne Post author

      Thanks for the support, Lizzie. Won’t be at conference – it always feels more focused on writers than readers, and I’d feel out of place – but I do have my ticket for the York tea!

Comments are closed.