Double Review Day!

Today I’m reviewing both Girl in the Gallery and Death in Dulwich, by Alice Castle. Thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for sending me the ebook files and arranging this blog tour. It’s a long post because there are two books, plus the author’s information and, if you like what you hear, at the end there’s a chance to win copies of the books.

Death in Dulwich CoverBlurb

Thirty-something single mum Beth Haldane is forced to become Dulwich’s answer to Miss Marple when she stumbles over a murder victim on her first day at work.

To clear her name, Beth is plunged into a cozy mystery that’s a contemporary twist on Golden Age crime classics. But can she pull it off? She already has a bouncy young son, haughty cat, a fringe with a mind of its own and lots of bills to pay, as she struggles to keep up with the yummy mummies of SE21.

Join Beth in #1 of the London Murder Mystery series, as she discovers the nastiest secrets can lurk in the nicest places.
Purchase LinkMyBook.to/1DeathinDulwich

My Review

Entertaining cosy mystery set in the posh South London suburb of Dulwich. Beth, freelance journalist and widowed mother of 9-year-old Ben, has fund a job, assistant archivist at the exclusive Wyatt’s school. Unfortunately the head archivist is a filthy old perv who gets stabbed on her first day. Convinced she’s the prime suspect, despite only meeting him once at the interview and then again on the morning of his death, Beth decides to investigate. What she uncovers is much worse than she expected. There are secrets in superficial, primped Dulwich, secrets someone doesn’t want the world to know.
The story takes place in an insulated community. Because she’s a widow without a banker husband to keep her in style while she does a ‘little’ job, and organises all the children’s after-school activities, she’s a bit of an outsider at the primary school gates. A lifelong Dulwich resident but not a ‘yummy mummy’; she actually has to work for a living and if her son’s school projects are cobbled together it’s because he tells her the night before and she has to make them from whatever she can find in the house. When she finds a job to bulk up their income, Beth is overjoyed, but has only er friend Katie to support her. Katie is a yummy mummy, a yoga teacher with her own business and contacts in Dulwich that a Beth relies on when she is drawn into the investigation, and who supports Beth when she finds the body of Dr Jenkins, her superior at Wyatt’s, and babysits Ben when Beth’s home is burgled. The teachers at Wyatt’s are an odd lot, clearly they’re all hiding something, and nobody particularly liked the deceased. They add colour to the plot, and some misdirection.
It is a bit slow at times and doesn’t have the fast pace expected of the modern crime novel, but I don’t think it’s meant to. It is a straight-forward plot, has a satisfying ending. The book is very easy to read, Beth is a likeable character and the clues are there for the finding. It’s very descriptive, of the setting and social environment, placing the reader firmly in Beth’s world.

A fun way to spend an afternoon, and a modern update on the Golden Age ‘Snobbery with Murder’ mysteries that made Agatha Christie and Dorothy L Sayers so popular.

 

The Girl in the Gallery Cover

 

Blurb

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to Dulwich…

It’s a perfect summer’s morning in the plush south London suburb, and thirty-something Beth Haldane has sneaked off to visit one of her favourite places, the world-famous Picture Gallery.

She’s enjoying a few moments’ respite from juggling her job at prestigious private school Wyatt’s and her role as single mum to little boy Ben, when she stumbles across a shocking new exhibit on display. Before she knows it, she’s in the thick of a fresh, and deeply chilling, investigation.

Who is The Girl in the Gallery? Join Beth in adventure #2 of the London Murder Mystery series as she tries to discover the truth about a secret eating away at the very heart of Dulwich.

Purchase Link  – http://www.MyBook.to/GirlintheGallery

 

My Review

This second ‘Dulwich’ novel takes place a few months after the first. Now head of the Historical Institute at Wyatt’s and preparing a permanent slavery exhibit, Beth takes an early morning visit to a local gallery, where, she finds an unconscious girl from the Collage School, Wyatt’s younger sister. Once again, she’s drawn into a mystery. Who is the girl? What as she taken? Was it suicide or attempted murder?

Beth meets a new woman in the village, psychiatrist Maria Lutyen, who’s daughter is in the same school year as the victim, and even the same friendship group. Beth learns about the pressures the girls are facing to lose massive amounts of weight, and the ringleader of the group seems to be missing. When she returns and the mother of the unknown girl turns up, it becomes even more personal for Beth: Jo Osbourne is a single, working class mother and the village gossips are already blaming her. Beth feels connected to the little family, despite their huge differences, and when the victim, Simone, dies, desperately wants to find the culprit. Then another girl gets sick, and finally the little ring leader takes an overdose.

Harry Yorke is not amused by Beth’s ‘interfering’ but decides to take her along on his investigations. Their relationship goes in fits and starts, with comfortable evenings followed by arguments that ruin the atmosphere, and happy coffee meetings rent by his protectiveness and her stubbornness.

Beth puts together her observations and the gossip she’s heard from Maria and Katie to discover the culprit.

The murderer is completely unexpected. I found the ending a bit abrupt but the book was well-written, very observant of posh middle classness,  an entertaining mystery, and quite addictive. I somewhat wish I’d agreed to take part in the blog tour for the third book next month now.

I recommend to those who enjoy a cosy crime.

4/5

 


 

author pic

Author Bio – Before turning to crime, Alice Castle was a UK newspaper journalist for The Daily Express, The Times and The Daily Telegraph. Her first book, Hot Chocolate, set in Brussels and London, was a European hit and sold out in two weeks.

Death in Dulwich was published in September 2017 and has been a number one best-seller in the UK, US, Canada, France, Spain and Germany. A sequel, The Girl in the Gallery was published in December 2017 to critical acclaim. Calamity in Camberwell, the third book in the London Murder Mystery series, will be published this summer, with Homicide in Herne Hill due to follow in early 2019.  Alice is currently working on the fifth London Murder Mystery adventure. Once again, it will feature Beth Haldane and DI Harry York.

Alice is also a mummy blogger and book reviewer via her website: https://www.alicecastleauthor.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alicecastleauthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DDsDiary?lang=en

Giveaway – Win signed copies of Death in Dulwich and The Girl in the Gallery (UK Only) 

This giveaway is entirely the responsibility of the author. Rosie Writes… is merely sharing the giveaway and is in no way responsible for organising or fulfilling it.

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for dispatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494106/?

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