THE WATCHFUL EYE - Priscilla Masters

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The Watchful Eye
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Book Synopsis

Dr Daniel Gregory, a GP in the small picturesque market town of Eccleston, is becoming concerned by the frequency of visits by Vanda Struel and her two-year-old daughter Anna-Louise.  At first he believed they were merely a symptom of a vulnerable young woman, over-protective of her child.  But as the number of consultations escalates and the complaints become increasingly bizarre, Daniel worries that there could be something more sinister driving Vanda to the doctor's surgery day after day.
Book Review

Billed as one of Priscilla Masters Medical Mysteries, this author has written around 15 books, some standalone, some with a central series character.  THE WATCHFUL EYE is set, as the synopsis says, in a classic small English village where Daniel Gregory is the local GP.  Recently divorced, with a young daughter of his own, he's essentially a lonely man, kept in the village by his house and his job alone.  But he has a rather odd relationship with many of those patients.  Whilst he is concerned by the plight of little Anna-Louise, he does seem a little ineffectual - more worrying than actual action.  Plus he's also got other distractions.  He's very attracted to the local policeman's wife - although the relationship is platonic.  He's got complications with his practice nurse, his overbearing mother, he's increasingly drawn to internet dating and he has a rotten relationship with his ex-wife who keeps his time with his daughter to the bare minimum.  
THE WATCHFUL EYE covers the plight of Anna-Louise, the stalking of the policeman's wife and the complications of her relationship with her increasingly distracted and violent husband, the suicide death of an elderly patient and the allegations of a young female patient.
The first part of THE WATCHFUL EYE carefully introduces the cast of characters, and it's not too hard to pick their various roles.  The brazen teenage girl is obviously destined to complicate our doctor's life.  The policeman's wife has a stalker who is obviously going to drive her husband to extreme measures, which is going to cause problems for our doctor.  The elderly patient is obviously going to cause problems for our doctor.  The overbearing mother who is only trying to help, but causes problems for our doctor.  And the attraction to the policeman's wife - where the doctor causes problems for the doctor without even trying.
The synopsis of the book says it's a captivating and thrilling read, but I must confess it wasn't either for this reader.  The layout of the characters and their roles was obvious from the start, and everybody stepped up to their expected role as required.  The slightly ineffectual, "why does everything always happen to me" personality of the central character certainly didn't help engender any sympathy or even particular interest in our doctor.  A surprisingly low-key, almost unemotional sort of a read - especially with a child in jeopardy, THE WATCHFUL EYE seemed to promise quite a bit, but ultimately didn't deliver for me.

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