THE WATCHFUL EYE - Priscilla Masters
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.
Dr. Daniel Gregory is a GP in a picturesque Mid-Staffordshire market town. Divorced and denied visiting rights to his seven year-old daughter, he is lonely and vulnerable to the dysfunctional behavior of some of the locals. Like Vanda Struel, a single parent who repeatedly brings her toddler into the surgery with a succession of increasingly bizarre complaints. Or Chelsea Emmanuel, a precocious teenager who makes advances to him only to plan pathological revenge when he refuses. Or the fatally damaged town policeman, who suspects Daniel of harboring an unhealthy attraction for his French wife... When an elderly woman patient is mistakenly given a terminal diagnosis, Vanda becomes pregnant with her second child and Daniel's own possessive mother arrives on the scene, things head inexorably towards the final breaking point.