- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 601 KB
- Print Length: 281 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B071WSGCQ2
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Average Customer Review: 26 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #111,311 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Death in Dulwich (The London Murder Mysteries Book 1) Kindle Edition
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This is a perfect cozy crime novel. It has all the conventions and traits that the reader wants from a cozy crime novel but with added appeal that it is set in contemporary London. Beth is a single parent trying to keep up with the pressures and expectations of her peer group, loving her life in Dulwich but constantly feeling the strains of financially keeping up - or appearing to keep up - with the lifestyle enjoyed by most of the residents there. The pace of the novel is racy enough for us to enjoy the building suspense and tension surrounding the murder, but also gentle enough to enjoy the reflections and digressions about single parenting, motherhood and the life of a thirty something woman.
The opening was very entertaining and, as with most of the book, reveals the humourous tone of the author's writing.
"'Fark!' the woman shouted, suddenly, catching sight of the spreading pool of blood and skittering sideways with the trolley. There was a clatter of china and the cigarette fell from her lip, coming to rest about a metre from Dr Jenkins' inert foot. It said a lot for the dinner lady's respect for the dead that she didn't immediately pick it up and pop it back into place."
Beth, who has the very unfortunate experience of discovering the dead body of Dr Jenkins as she arrives for work at the prestigious school, then finds herself in the frame for the murder. Beth is no sleuth but finds herself trying to solve the mystery as quickly as she can before she is framed for the crime herself. Beth's character is so likeable and feels very authentic as she finds herself suddenly sitting in police interviews trying to answer questions that seem to be leading her further and further into a corner. As she sets out to clear her name she gets to know the rest of the members of the school community, a cast of characters who are all colourful, well portrayed and dutifully crafted to distract us, surprise us, entertain us and create plenty of suspense.
This book works because it is full of all the great 'what ifs' that make it compelling to the reader. What if you had just landed the perfect new job but on your way to your office you find a dead body? What if all you are trying to do was be a good parent to your son and now this is jeopardised? What if you are suddenly thrown into the role of amateur sleuth? What if you are operating in a school which prides itself on its spotless image and wants to ensure that their reputation and their history is preserved even at the cost of the investigation?
"It was all very well to try and keep things in-house; [Beth] understood the school's need to keep a lid on wild speculations and accusations that could damage its reputation and, heaven forfend, make it less desirable in parents' eyes. But this was murder."
Castle's creation of Beth as an amateur sleuth is very well executed and she is a very likeable character. As with all well written protagonists, she faces plenty of dilemmas and difficult choices as she adapts to her new role. Beth's dilemma is whether she should do as the school wish and keep things contained and 'sanitised' or whether she should follow her own instinct which is to involve the police and stop the killer who is roaming at large within their own community. She also has the added complications and responsibilities of parenting Ben and the lonely feeling that she is different from the other parents in her peer group as she has to fulfil both roles as mum and dad, be both on the sidelines at football and pushing the swing in the playground. Through Beth, Castle also has a chance to capture some observations about modern day parenting, particularly in the affluent area of Dulwich, including some witty remarks about "4x4s backing perilously down the street" looking like a "camel train swaying into ungainly reverse" and the irrational fear of the knock on impact of the children's late night might lead to reduced school performance, failing entrance exams and a life as a dustman rather than a hedge fund manager!
All in all, this is an enjoyable read. Easy to pick up, easy to read, plenty to engage with, fun characters who are easy to imagine, well written dialogue and a very real sense of time and place. I recommend it! And as it is part one, I look forward to reading the next instalment on the London Murder Mysteries!
Beth Haldane has her hands full, what with a bouncy young son, her cat and making ends meet. She adores her home in plush London suburb Dulwich, but things there aren’t cheap. So when Beth gets a job as assistant archivist at top local school Wyatt’s she is thrilled, though she does fear that she won’t be up to it. Little does she know what is about to happen though.
Beth makes a hideous discovery on her very first day at work and finds that she is a prime suspect. She sets out to clear her name by doing some investigating herself and along the way encounters a number of characters. Even in the nicest of places the nastiest secrets can lurk.
When I was asked if I wanted to take part in this blog tour I jumped at the chance. I liked the sound of this book, plus I don’t live all that far from Dulwich so naturally I was interested.
I really enjoyed reading 'Death in Dulwich'. I knew from the very first page that I would like it. The words flowed easily and I found that this was an easy story to follow. The author even mentioned a particular supermarket in two different places, both of which I know.
I liked Beth Haldane from the very start. She came across as such a lovely person who hadn’t had it very easy. In taking the job at Wyatt’s she would be gaining experience and bringing a little bit more money in. Naturally she wanted the very best for her son, Ben. It’s always hard when you start a new job, but the last thing you expect is for a colleague to be murdered on the first day you’re there. But that’s exactly what happened to Beth.
I admired Beth for carrying out her own investigation especially as she was risking her own safety. I had my suspicions of who the killer was but at the same time there did seem to be other people who had a motive.
If you like cosy crime then 'Death in Dulwich' is for you. It’s a classic whodunit. The second book in the series is being published next year and I am very much looking forward to it.
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Most recent customer reviews
A great mix of murder, mystery and humour, Death in Dulwich is a fab read.Read more
Beth has a great new job and it's what she needs. What she doesn't need is to discover a murder on her very first day!Read more